Iran hikes prices, social media hit

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Iran hikes prices, social media hit

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran has raised prices as much as 300 percent for a variety of staple foods, including cooking oil, chicken, eggs and milk.

In the hours before the price hike took effect, many Iranians waited in long lines to buy food and emptied supermarket shelves across the country.

The currency of Iran dropped to a low of 300,000 rials to the dollar last week.

Internet disruptions have been reported across Iran as the government braced for possible unrest, according to advocacy group NetBlocks.org.

Food prices went up across the Middle East due to global supply chain issues and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which both export many essentials items.

Drought is also ravaging Iran's economy, along with Western sanctions over Iran's nuclear deal.

Youth unemployment has also remained high with the inflation soaring to nearly 40 percent, the highest level since 1994. Some 30 percent of Iranian households are living below the poverty line, according to Iran's Statistics Center.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has promised to create jobs, lift sanctions and rescue the economy, but talks to revive the nuclear deal with world powers are deadlocked.

The top trending hashtag on Twitter in recent weeks has been macaroni, as Iranians complain about the rising prices of flour.

As she walked through a supermarket in Tehran, Mina Tehrani, a mother of three, told the Associated Press: "I am sure that the government does not care about average people." Hassan Shahbazzadeh, a Tehran resident, complained that Iranians had forgone meat or dairy to save money, and now have nothing left to cut.

Now, even macaroni is taken off their dining tables, he said.

Iranian authorities seem to be bracing for the worst because of the rising inflation increases.

Last week, Article 19, a global research organization that fights censorship, reported that authorities shut down almost all internet connectivity in cities across Khuzestan province.

On social media, Iranians have been gathering in the streets of southern Khuzestan, chanting slogans against price hikes and the country's leaders.

The people can't tolerate it anymore, according to a report by the lawmaker Majid Nasserinejad.