Iranian protests spark following spike in fuel prices

Carly Phares, Head Editor

Iran’s recent rise in oil prices has spiraled the nation into a frenzy of political and economic unrest. Protests have broken out in response, and according to NBC News, the U.S.’s representative for Iran, Brian Hook, estimates that as many as 1,000 civilians have been killed.

“We know for certain it is many, many hundreds,” Hook said. He also reported that over 7,000 people have been arrested and are currently being detained in Iranian prisons.

Iran’s economy has been steadily decreasing due to U.S. sanctions and a decline in oil sales, as reported by the Washington Post. According to the World Bank, Iran’s economy is expected to decline by 8.7 percent this year alone. 

Tensions between Iran and the U.S. and its allies in the Gulf have been steadily growing. This week, the Pentagon announced that the U.S. was planning to deploy more troops to the Middle East in response to a growing threat from Tehran, Iran’s capital.

Protests have erupted in several of the same places that experienced unrest two years prior. However, a much larger sphere of society has joined the uprising this time around.

“The people’s rage is escalating. They feel like the government treats them like children and no one is willing to stand up to protect them,” said Davoud, a 36 year old citizen of Mashhad, a northwestern city in Iran.

A five day internet shutdown was put into place following wide-spread protests. Experts estimate this shutdown as the first to “effectively isolate a modern, highly developed domestic network” of just over 80 million people, according to Associated Press.

The Islamic Republic was successfully able to bar citizens from the outside world, without taking down the internet entirely. Iran has been sharpening this practice for almost a decade, and this most recent blackout has proved its efficiency and perfectibility, according to The Guardian. 

Other countries, such as Ethiopia and Russia, have implemented similar Internet bans, but nothing compared to the situation in Iran.

There will likely be efforts by the Iranian government to exert further control over the country, but as of now, nothing is certain. Sara, a 30 year old citizen of Tehran, Iran’s capital, said,  “The real impact of all of this is still on its way.”