Thousands of Iranians reportedly took to Tehran’s historic Grand Bazaar on Monday, forcing its shutdown in protest over the Islamic Republic’s decision to spend money on Iran’s adventurism abroad instead of helping fuel its troubled economy at home, where over 40 percent of its population is unemployed.
According to the Associated Press, the demonstrations, which appear to be an extension of nationwide protests that began on December 28 and have continued for months – came after protests forced two major shopping centers for mobile phones and electronics to close in Tehran on Sunday.
Video of Iranians chanting “We don’t want the mullahs” outside the Grand Bazaar spread over social media:
— Pouria Zeraati (@pouriazeraati) June 25, 2018
In what appears to be a stunning turn away from Iran’s generally anti-Semitic stance, which is replete with chants of “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” – both long considered the “little Satan” and “great Satan” by the regime – Iranian protesters were chanting “Death to Palestine!”
Everyday Iranians have revolted against the regime’s decision to finance wars and its revolutionary endeavors in places like Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Lebanon, and its support for the Palestinian people instead of its own struggling population.
This month, Iranians began posting videos of themselves discarding and destroying regime-run charity donation boxes that they believed were going to Gaza to pay for lavish meals while their own people struggle to offer donations to Gaza.
Members of the Iranian resistance also posted video of the incidents:
Indeed @marykissel it is worth repeating, as many forget that the fall of dictatorships is a norm, not an exception. Widespread #IranProtest 2day in Tehran & major cities shows that people seek #IranRegimeChange which makes the June 30the Paris #FreeIran2018 rally very timely. https://t.co/qoSolZmmmj
— Alireza Jafarzadeh (@A_Jafarzadeh) June 25, 2018
Protesters reportedly charged at the Iranian regime’s anti-riot forces, forcing them to flee. They reportedly left behind their motorcycles.https://twitter.com/SohrabAhmari/status/1011252617492787200
According to the BBC, at one point, Iran’s anti-riot police fired tear gas into the crowd of protesters as they marched towards parliament or Majles.
Despite this, the Associated Press reported that the head of Iran’s Chamber of Guilds, Ali Fazeli, later was quoted by Iran’s state-run Tasnim News agency as saying the situation at the bazaar was “calm.”
President Donald Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank – which directly finances Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s personal empire, which automatically withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), appears to have empowered everyday Iranians to rise up against the regime.
Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency reportedly said the protests also erupted after the Iranian rial collapsed to an all-time low of 90,000 to the dollar, despite the regime’s attempts to control the currency rate. Al Araby noted that shopkeepers also joined everyday citizens protesting the rising costs and chanted things like “Strike!” and “We don’t want the Dollar at 100,000 Rials.”
The AP also reported that in the midst of this, hardliners, many of whom were opposed to the JCPOA, have called for new elections in Iran or to replace President Hassan Rouhani’s civilian government with a military-led one. Iran’s Fars News agency reportedly went so far on Monday as publishing an article from the country’s fellow state-run daily publication Sobh-e No saying Iran’s government is ready to “bow down to foreign threats and sit at the negotiation table.”