by Alicea Alford – Staff Writer
Since Dec. 28, the people of Iran have been protesting the lack of economic opportunity, high prices of food and fuel, Iranian involvement in the Middle East, and the government as a whole.
President Hassan Rouhani outlined a plan during his election bid to boost the economy. However, with average Iranians not feeling the benefits of his economic agenda because they deal with growing inflation, unemployment, and restriction of their freedoms, they arranged protests.
Alireza Nader, an international policy analyst, said to CNN why the people are protesting, “The government is viewed as highly corrupt, increasing inequality is seen by the population as really a form of injustice.”
Most protesters that were arrested had been from low income families and were between 18 and 35 years old.
A South Asia and Middle East expert for the Washington-based Middle East Institute said to RadioFreeEurope, “Young Iranians hold higher expectations…and aspire to more freedoms and opportunities…they are deeply frustrated with economic and political stagnation in the country, and do not see the ruling political establishment as capable of addressing their needs.”
The protests spread to more than 80 cities and towns around Iran. They were the largest protests in Iran since 2009. More than 42,000 people took part in the protests. Around 3,700 people were arrested for their participation in the anti-government protests.
The Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafaari Dolatabadi said to the Mehr news agency, “More than 440 people who were arrested in Tehran riots have been released.”
The protests resulted in at least 25 deaths. Most killed were protestors, however some were security guards trying to keep control during the protests. At least 2 deaths occurred while in police custody.
Although the protests have ended, Siavush Randjbar-Daemi, a lecturer in Iranian history at Britain’s University of Manchester said to NBC news, “I do not think the feeling of dissent toward the regime and level of disgust for the political and economic situation has gone away.”