Hundreds of people staged anti-government protests in Isfahan (Isfahan province), Shiraz (Fars province), and Karaj (Alborz province) on Tuesday, July 31, and Wednesday, August 1, over deteriorating economic conditions. The protests were spurred by a sudden depreciation of the Iranian rial (IRR), which lost 18 percent of its value in just two days on July 30 and 31.
Local sources have reported that the Isfahan protest was also influenced by frequent electricity outages throughout the summer months. Protesters reportedly chanted anti-regime slogans and opposed continued Iranian support to proxy groups in Gaza and Lebanon. No resultant casualties had been reported as of 20:30 (local time) on Wednesday, though riot police in Karaj reportedly fired tear gas at protesters on July 31. Additional related protests are expected across Iran in the coming days. A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be anticipated near protest sites. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Concerns over US sanctions on Iran, which will go into effect on August 6, are contributing to the rial's tumble, which has lost over 60 percent of its value since the beginning of 2018. On June 25, the Iranian government announced an import ban on over 1300 products that can be produced domestically rather than imported, indicating that Iran may return to a "resistance economy" similar to the operating model used until 2016, during the previous round of international sanctions.
Individuals in Iran are advised to monitor developments to the situation, strictly avoid all protests and demonstrations, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.