One dead, several injured in Iran protests

One dead, several injured in Iran protests

According to postings on social media, protests over soaring food prices continued in several cities in Iran on Saturday, while an Iranian lawmaker told local media a person was killed in a demonstration in the south-west.

The protests were triggered by a cut in state subsidies for imported wheat last week that caused price hikes of as much as 300% for a variety of flour-based staples. The price of basic goods such as cooking oil and dairy products was raised by the government of President Ebrahim Raisi.

The northern city of Rasht, the central city of Farsan and the north-eastern city of Neyshabur were among the areas hit by protests, according to videos posted on social media.

Raisi, have some shame, let go of the country! On one such video, protesters chanted. Reuters could not independently verify the videos.

Local lawmaker Ahmad Avai told the semi-official ILNA news agency that a person had been killed during rallies in Dezful, a city in the oil-producing southwestern province of Khuzestan.

State media said an estimated 300 people were dispersed by security forces in Dezful and 15 were arrested late on Thursday.

Iranian media reported last week that there was a disruption of internet services, an attempt to stop the use of social media to organise rallies and disseminate videos.

NetBlocks reported a disruption on Iran's MobinNet on Saturday, according to Internet blockade observatory NetBlocks. NetBlocks said on Twitter that the disruption was the latest in a series of telecoms cuts due to protests.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, wheat prices have gone up, adding to the cost of subsidies in Iran.

Iranian officials blamed the smuggling of heavily subsidised flour into neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan for the price hikes.