Videos of fights breaking out in front of supermarkets or currency exchange offices in Iran have become so common on social media over the past few years that many people don’t even find them surprising anymore. These fraught scenes illustrate the stress caused by the economic downturn that has swept the country, accompanied by rampant inflation and currency devaluation. Experts and observers describe an unprecedented crisis that has led to violence and significant psychological distress amongst those fighting to stay afloat. Every day, large crowds gather in front of currency exchange offices in the capital, Tehran, and other Iranian cities. The people in these queues are hoping to preserve their meager savings by converting them into US dollars, as their own currency rapidly devalues. Fights are common amongst those scrambling for a place in line. The video below, shared on social media on September 8, is one example. It shows a man and a woman fighting in front of a currency exchange office in the Eskan commercial center in northern Tehran. These incidents, which are …
A crocodile attack on a 7-year-old boy has refocused attention on the plight of villages in Iran’s southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan Province that lack running water. Residents say their children have no option but to fetch water from lakes and rivers, exposing them to the dangers of drowning and attacks by a species of marsh crocodile known locally as “gandos”. On Aug. 11, a 7-year-old boy named Amirhamzeh from the village of Houttag was attacked by a crocodile as he was fetching water for his family. His parents sent him to neighboring Pakistan for treatment, but the doctors were forced to amputate his left hand. While Iran does not publish statistics of crocodile attacks, locals say they are a regular occurrence. Last year a 9-year-old girl lost her arm in a crocodile attack, and an 8-year-old boy lost a leg. Sistan and Baluchistan is one of the most underdeveloped provinces of Iran, a poor region that shares 1100 km of border with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Many of the arid province’s villages are not connected to …
In this episode of Misinfodemia, Seema Yasmin talks to me about how government push false news and how social media platforms both help and hinder the fight to tackle misinformation and disinformation. I talked about how Iran’s government is hiding the real number of corona virus victimes and how we worked on it in France24.
Iran’s Supreme Court announced on July 10 that three men who had participated in protests against the government last November had been sentenced to death. Many people took to social media to protest the announcement, calling for the sentence to be overturned. At the same time, ultra-conservative supporters of the regime started circulating a video that they claimed showed the young activists carrying out violent armed robberies in an attempt to turn public opinion against them. In reality, the footage in this video is old and has nothing to do with the three accused men. UPDATED 20-07-2020: On July 19, the Iranian government suspended the execution of the three activists, Amirhossein Moradiyea, Saeed Tamjidi, and Mohammad Rajabi. The Iran Supreme Court accepted the request for a new trial that had been submitted by the defendants’ lawyers, Babak Paknia, one of the lawyers, informed AFP on Sunday. Last November, an increase in petrol prices sparked a nationwide protest movement in Iran, with demonstrations taking place in more than 200 towns and cities. The regime’s crackdown was …
A second wave of Covid-19 has been sweeping Iran since mid-May. My contacts say that even though hospitals are already overwhelmed with cases, Iranians are not adhering to basic preventative measures. They blame the government for reopening the country too quickly after the first wave and not responding fast enough to the latest crisis.
While Europe has been slowly reopening after lockdowns meant to halt the spread of Covid-19, Iran is in the grips of a second deadly wave of the virus. Hospitals across the country are filling up and our Observers say, in some regions, they’ve already run out of beds. While the government is still reporting relatively low numbers of cases, our Observers say this just doesn’t reflect the situation on the ground. They report overwhelmed hospitals and towns plunging back into lockdown. Of the country’s 31 provinces, 14 have been declared coronavirus “red zones”, the most serious indicator.
Since 22 May, the Zagros mountain range in southwestern Iran has been ravaged by forest fires spreading across thousands of hectares. Iran is woefully underprepared to deal with the country’s hot season because of a lack of resources and budget, and so extinguishing the fire falls to volunteers.
Parkour athlete Alireza Japalaghy shot to fame on Instagram for his photos of daring stunts on the roofs of Tehran. His account now has more than 90,000 followers. But it wasn’t photos of his dangerous jumps that caught the attention of Iranian authorities – it was photos of him kissing a woman.
On May 10 Iran’s navy tested an anti-ship missile in the Gulf of Oman, but something went wrong and the missile hit a support vessel, killing 19 sailors and wounding 15 more. Video supposedly showing the incident was widely shared on Arab-language social media and broadcast on the Al Arabiya network. But the video, in fact, shows an exercise by the Norwegian navy in 2013.
Dozens of Afghan migrants are feared dead after Iranian border guards allegedly forced them into a river on the Iran-Afghan border on May 1. Of the 57 men and boys in the group, only 12 are known to have survived. One of the survivors told the France 24 Observers he and the others were arrested and tortured by guards from an Iranian border post overlooking the Harirud river.