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Public Strike in Iran Protests Worsening Living Conditions

Public Strike in Iran Protests Worsening Living Conditions

Tuesday, 9 October, 2018 - 10:15
Iranian rials are seen at a currency exchange shop. (Reuters)
London - Asharq Al-Awsat

Many shop owners in Iranian cities joined truck drivers in their strike, which is on its 16th day, protesting against worsening economic conditions and rising prices.

Video footage shared by Iranian activists on social media showed massive strikes in markets across several Iranian cities.

The strike received no coverage by official and Revolutionary Guard news agencies that only reported “normal” activity in Tehran markets on Monday.

Alternatively, reports said security forces deployed to a number of Iranian cities.

According to the activists, Tabriz, Isfahan, Mashhad and Sinandaj were among the biggest cities that have seen recurrent market strikes. Eyewitnesses also reported protests taking place in several Tehran markets, as well as a number of smaller towns.

Truck drivers, encouraged by trade unions, have been staging a sit-in for weeks. This is a second such strike they hold this year.

Police have arrested over 100 drivers in recent days, according to human rights centers in Iran.

These strikes included all the provinces of Iran, according to social media posts.

Trade union sources pointed out during the past few days that the strikes were taking place in Urmia, Ardabil, Ahwaz, Isfahan, Qazvin and Bandar Abbas.

Despite threats by Iranian authorities and police, strikes have lasted over a week so far.

Although economic conditions have worsened enough to provoke strikes, official agencies say that the Iranian rial was improving.

Nevertheless, reliable and independent information on dollar to Iranian exchange rates have disappeared after the government shut down multiple economic monitoring websites.

Sources said the government launched a misinformation campaign in hopes to tame the demand for the dollar.

The Iranian government is using its official media outlets to build confidence in and demand for other foreign currency. Observers say the market has seen the demand for the dollar fall.

Meanwhile, official media reported a rise in gold rates.

Dollar exchange rates continued to fluctuate, varying between 140,000 and 135,000 rials, according to official agencies.

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