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Economic Protests Break out in Iran

A police colonel talks with a group of Iranian workers during their protest in front of the Industrial Ministry building in Tehran, Iran, demanding their delayed salaries. (AP Photo)

“The Iranian government deserves responsibility for what is going on inside Iran. And that is who should be held accountable.”

In Iran, protests broke out in the capital city over the precipitous fall of the rial, which, over the course of one week, lost more than a third of its value against the dollar. Police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators who were shouting slogans denouncing the government’s economic policies.

Economic Protests Break out in Iran
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The swift decline in the value of Iran’s currency is adding to the economic woes of the Iranian people, who face rising inflation, growing unemployment, and shortages of basic commodities. During a demonstration, one man reportedly shouted, “They spend billions of dollars to keep Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power, but now they say they have no money!”

The U.S. has sympathy for the economic distress of the Iranian people whom they greatly respect. The increasing pressure they are experiencing, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made clear in a recent press briefing, is a direct result of the failed policies of the Iranian government and the decisions its leaders have made on a broad range of issues, including how they manage Iran’s economy, how they prioritize their budget, and how they respond to the concerns of the Iranian people:

“The Iranian government deserves responsibility for what is going on inside Iran. And that is who should be held accountable.” said Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

Secretary of State Clinton acknowledged that the economic sanctions levied by the international community on Iran because of its refusal to live up to its nuclear obligations are also having an impact on the economic conditions inside the country. But, she said, the impact of those sanctions “could be remedied in short order” if the Iranian Government took a sincere and serious approach to negotiations with the P5+1 countries, so a peaceful resolution could be reached regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

The goal of the United States has always been -- and remains -- a peaceful outcome for Iran and the world. President Barack Obama has repeatedly affirmed Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy if its leaders comply with their obligations to the United Nations Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The P5+1 have already made proposals that would provide for a civil nuclear program for Iran.

Until the Iranian regime decides to answer the concerns of the world and fulfill its nuclear obligations, however, it will have to bear the intensifying pressure and consequences of its actions to defy the international community.