Published: Thu, June 28, 2018
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

Protesters swarm Iran's Grand Bazaar in Tehran

Protesters swarm Iran's Grand Bazaar in Tehran

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

The currency has been sliding for months because of a weak economy, financial difficulties at local banks and heavy demand for dollars among Iranians who fear the pullout by Washington from the nuclear deal and renewed U.S. sanctions against Tehran could shrink the country's exports of oil and other goods.

Iran has faced mounting economic woes since the United States in May pulled out of a 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and world powers that lifted global sanctions in exchange for a scaling back of the Islamic republic's atomic programme.

The protests were a fresh challenge to President Hassan Rouhani's government just months after widespread street demonstrations roiled the Islamic Republic.

The decision was made as the Iranian rial plunged to a record low against the USA dollar in the unofficial market on Sunday, Tasnim news agency reported.

In the Grand Bazaar, hundreds staged a similar protest, videos posted on social media showed.

Other videos appeared to show police charging into the crowd.

The protesters are chanting "death to Syria'" and "our enemy is here - not the U.S." as they demand the government focus on improving the economy. Chants against that practice have been heard in frequent, small-scale anti-government protests across Iran since December, mostly outside Tehran.

Shopkeepers at Tehran's Grand Bazaar shut their doors, June 25, 2018, to protest Iran's worsening economic conditions.

Iran announced a list of imported goods to be banned in a move to protect domestic products, media reports said on Sunday. 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.

Watch: Iranians stage anti-government protestin central Tehran, June 25, 2018. The protests in late December and early January saw at least 25 people killed and almost 5,000 people arrested by authorities.

President Rouhani's government has struggled with the economic problems, which have seen high unemployment. Nevertheless, according to ISNA, the unofficial market has been active after the Rouhani administration imposed limitations on the market and attempted to force the price of 42,000 rials per dollar, which the market never respected. 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".

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