Protests have reportedly been organized in several Iranian cities in recent days ahead of the expected reimposition of US sanctions on Iran beginning on Tuesday, August 7. Demonstrations have been reported in Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, and Mashhad, denouncing deteriorating economic conditions, water shortages, and perceived poor governance. A heightened security presence and Internet cuts had been imposed in Karaj (Alborz province) - a town experiencing notable unrest - as of the evening of Sunday, August 5 (local time), ahead of the renewal of US sanctions.
Additional protests, Internet restrictions, and consequent traffic disruptions are possible in these and other areas of Iran in the coming days. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Concerns over US sanctions on Iran, which will go into effect on August 7, are contributing to the recent devaluation of the Iranian rial (IRR), 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.
More generally, Iran has witnessed a series of protests over various grievances in cities across the country since December 2017. In December 2017 and January 2018, Iran experienced the largest demonstrations expressing public dissatisfaction with the economic and sociopolitical status quo since the Green Movement protests of 2009. These 2017-2018 protests resulted in dozens of deaths and thousands of arrests. In recent months, protests and strikes have also been held over water issues, insufficient wages, political prisoners, border closures, political administration issues, poor university administration, and mismanagement of financial institutions.
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.
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