Iran: Protesters Chant 'Death to Palestine' in Tehran's Grand Bazaar


Protesters angered by Iran's cratering economy have confronted police officers in front of parliament, with security forces firing tear gas at them, according to online videos.

Monday's protests in Tehran began at the capital's sprawling Grand Bazaar, which has always been a center of conservatism in Iranian politics and where the ayatollahs' 1979 Islamic Revolution first gathered pace.

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.

Some observers have speculated that the protests have been orchestrated by these hardliners to stir up resentment at the administration led by pragmatic-centrist President Hassan Rouhani.

Videos posted on social media on Monday showed anti-regime demonstrators in the Iranian capital of Tehran chanting, "Death to Palestine!".

As the crowd filed through the streets of the capital calling on others to join them, the size of the demonstration swelled into the thousands.

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. Crowd chants: "We will die, will take back #Iran", "Iranians will die, will not accept humiliation".

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Holly Dagres, an Iranian-American analyst, told The National that the Grand Bazaar's traders have a history of association with such protests. The bazaar merchant class are traditionally known for protests and played an integral role in the 1979 revolution.

At the end of past year, similar economic protests roiled Iran and spread to about 75 cities and towns, becoming the largest demonstrations in the country since its 009 disputed presidential election.

Violence at those demonstrations, which continued into early January, left 25 dead and almost 5,000 people detained by authorities.

However, those protests largely struck Iran's provinces as opposed to Tehran itself.

President Rouhani's government has struggled with the economic problems, which have seen high unemployment.

The rial sank to 90,000 against the dollar in the unofficial market on Monday, from 87,000 on Sunday and about 75,500 on Thursday, according to the foreign exchange website Bonbast.

The dollar's surging black market value also has led the Iranian central bank to ration its supply of the USA currency to Iranians, Shojai said.