Protests against Iran’s regime continued for a second day on Tuesday in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar as Iranians railed against the government for its foreign and economic policies, while the Islamic Republic’s government said the uprisings were merely a fabrication as part of “foreign media propaganda.”
Although thousands of Iranians are participating in these ongoing protests over the Islamic Republic’s decision to spend money on Iran’s adventurism abroad instead of helping fuel its troubled economy at home, President Hassan Rouhani blamed the protests on “foreign media propaganda” and reportedly accused the United States of waging “an economic war” against his country.
In his televised Monday speech, Rouhani reportedly accused the Trump administration of waging a “psychological, economic and political war” on his country and warned that the United States would pay a high price for exiting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, that was brokered under the Obama administration in 2015.
“Withdrawal was the worst decision he [Trump] could make. It was appalling,” Rouhani said. “It hurt America’s global reputation. The US cannot defeat our nation, our enemies are not able to get us to their knees.”
Anti-riot police reportedly used tear gas on protesters to suppress the riots and many Iranians were arrested, though Iran refused to provide the actual number of arrests. The regime often deflates the actual number of arrests and executions it carries out in the Islamic Republic. Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, Tehran’s chief prosecutor reportedly said, “A large number of the agitators, who had nothing to do with the bazaar traders, have been arrested,” according to the German-based Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA).
“Even in the worst case, I promise that the basic needs of Iranians will be provided,” Rouhani said in a live speech broadcast on Iran’s state TV on Monday, according to the Reuters news agency. “We have enough sugar, wheat, and cooking oil. We have enough foreign currency to inject into the market.”
Over 40 percent of Iran’s population is unemployed and struggling to put food on the table.
Meanwhile, Iran has opted to spend billions of dollars in financial aid to Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Yemen’s Houthi rebels and its Shiite militias in Iraq. The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) noted that “Syria expert Stephen Heydemann estimated in 2015 that Iran spends $15-20 billion per year supporting [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad].”
Protests on Monday emphasized national opposition to the Islamic regime’s support of foreign Muslim populations while Iranians suffer a weak economy. Unlike many prior protests, Iranians on Monday chanted, “Death to Palestine!” as a rejection of the regime’s financial support for Hamas and other jihadist groups in the region.
Last week, Iran signed a directive that will shut down all auto imports into the country, in a sign that the regime could be facing economic woes. Sanctions the United States reimposed on Iran’s Central Bank — which directly finances Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) — and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s vast personal empire will start in August.