Protesters chant slogans at the old grand bazaar in Tehran. (Iranian Labor News Agency via AP) (Iranian Labor News Agency via AP)
Iran protest

The protesters “are chanting ‘Death to Palestine,’ not ‘Death to America’ or ‘Death to Israel’…. The people of Iran don’t hate us. The government does, not the people,” one social media user wrote.

By: United with Israel Staff and AP

Protesters angered by Iran’s collapsing economy confronted police in Tehran in front of parliament on Monday, with security forces firing tear gas at them, according to online videos. It was the first such confrontation after similar demonstrations rocked the country at the start of the year.

The unplanned demonstration came a day after protests forced two major shopping centers for mobile phones and electronics to close in Tehran and after demonstrators earlier closed its Grand Bazaar.

It signaled widespread unease in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw America from the nuclear deal with Iran and restore sanctions on the country, which could further hinder the country’s already failing economy.

Iran’s semi-official news agencies, Fars, ISNA and Tasnim, described the protests at the Grand Bazaar as erupting after the Iranian rial dropped to 90,000 to the dollar on the country’s black market, despite government attempts to control the currency rate.

Regime ‘Attacked Us with Tear Gas’

A short time later, about two kilometers (1.25 miles) from the Grand Bazaar, videos shared by Iranians on social media appeared to show a crowd confronting police at parliament. The videos show tear gas in the air and protesters screaming, “They attacked us with tear gas!”

Some videos appeared to show police charging into the crowd.

Other videos showed anti-regime demonstrators in the Iranian capital chanting, “Death to Palestine!”

“They are chanting ‘Death to Palestine’…. not ‘Death to America’ or ‘Death to Israel.’ How does the mainstream media get this stuff so wrong? The people of Iran don’t hate us. The government does, not the people,” one social media user wrote in response.

“Hamas and Hezbollah and Palestinian Jihad can kiss their Iranian funding goodbye if the regime falls,” another one wrote.

‘Never Mind Palestine, Think About Us’

The protesters are demanding that the regime invest in the country and its economy, and not in its foreign terrorist network and belligerent regional expansionism. Protesters have called on the regime to cease with investments in wars in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Gaza, and instead invest in the Islamic Republic’s citizens.

Iran’s economy has improved since the 2015 nuclear deal, but the improvement has not reached the average Iranian. Unemployment remains high, and official inflation is rampant.

Similar voices were heard during the unrest in the country in December. For instance, protestors in the western city of Kermanshah chanted phrases such as, “Never mind Palestine, think about us.”

Hamas and Hezbollah have openly admitted that they are heavily supported by the Islamic Republic and receive millions in funds for their terror organizations.

The protests in Tehran’s sprawling Grand Bazaar mark an extreme change, as it has long been a center of conservatism in Iranian politics and remains an economic force within the country — despite the construction of massive malls around the city. Bazaar families opposed the Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and supported the 1979 Islamic Revolution that replaced him with a Shiite theocracy and elected officials.



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