One person killed in Iran protests over wheat prices

Demonstrations continue in several cities after cut in state subsidies for imported wheat caused price surges of up to 300%

A shopkeeper in Tehran. The Iranian government has increased prices of basic food items such as cooking oil, chicken, eggs and dairy products by as much as 300 per cent. EPA

One person has been killed in protests over soaring food prices in Iran, a politician from the country has told local media.

Posts on social media showed demonstrations were continuing in several cities in Iran on Saturday, sparked last week by a cut in state subsidies for imported wheat that caused price surges of up to 300 per cent for a variety of flour-based staples.

The government of President Ebrahim Raisi also raised prices of basic goods such as cooking oil and dairy products.

The northern city of Rasht, the central town of Farsan and the north-eastern city of Neyshabur, were among areas hit by protests, Reuters reported.

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

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

Internet reportedly cut to stop social media use

Iranian media last week reported disrupted internet services, an apparent attempt to stop the use of social media to organise rallies and disseminate videos.

Internet blockage observatory NetBlocks on Saturday reported a disruption lasting hours on Iran's MobinNet.

"The disruption is the latest in a series of telecoms cuts amid protests," NetBlocks said on Twitter.

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

Iranian officials have also blamed the price surge on the smuggling of heavily subsidised flour into neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan.

Updated: May 15, 2022, 6:52 AM
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