One dead as price protests continue in Iran

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DUBAI, May 14 (Reuters) – Protests over soaring food prices continued in several Iranian cities on Saturday, according to social media posts, while an Iranian lawmaker told local media that one person had been killed during a demonstration in the southwest.

The protests were sparked last week by a cut in state subsidies for imported wheat that caused price hikes of up to 300% for a variety of basic flour products. The government of President Ebrahim Raisi has also increased the prices of basic products such as cooking oil and dairy products.

The northern town of Rasht, the central town of Farsan and the northeastern town of Neyshabur were among the areas affected by the protests, according to videos posted on social media.

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“Raisi, be ashamed, let go of the country!” Chanted protesters on one of these videos. Reuters could not independently authenticate the videos.

Local lawmaker Ahmad Avai told the semi-official ILNA news agency that one person was killed during rallies in Dezful, a town in the southwestern oil province of Khuzestan.

State media said earlier that around 300 people had been dispersed by security forces in Dezful and 15 had been arrested by Thursday evening. Read more

In the first signs of discontent over rising prices, Iranian media last week reported disrupted internet services, an apparent attempt to shut down the use of social media to hold rallies and broadcast videos.

Internet blocking observatory NetBlocks reported a disruption lasting several hours on Iran’s MobinNet on Saturday. “The disruption is the latest in a series of telecommunications cuts amid protests,” NetBlocks said on Twitter.

Wheat prices have risen sharply globally since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February, adding to the cost of subsidies in Iran.

Iranian officials have also blamed the price hike on heavily subsidized flour smuggling to neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Reporting from Dubai Newsroom; Editing by David Holmes

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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