All posts tagged: Economic crisis

How sheep smuggling has become a lucrative yet dangerous business on the Iran-Iraq border

The financial crisis currently gripping Iran has led to a dramatic increase in sheep smuggling across the border with Iraq, a region that is home to many Kurds. While some sheep owners are making a large profit from this illegal activity, it’s dangerous for those on the ground. Several locals have been injured during clashes between smugglers and the Iranian police, who have arrested dozens of people in the region. A lot of smuggling takes place in the predominantly Kurdish regions surrounding the border between Iran and Iraq. Some of the most common items carried across the border are cigarettes, alcohol and electrical appliances. Smugglers are known locally as “kulbar”. Each year, several dozen of them die, killed by Iranian border guards, landmines or the harsh winters in this mountainous zone. The FRANCE 24 Observers team has reported several stories on the kulbar operating in this region. In the past month, several videos documenting sheep smuggling – the latest lucrative but dangerous activity to emerge in the region – have appeared on social media. A …

Violence, suicide and addiction: an unprecedented economic crisis plunges Iranian society into chaos

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 …

‘It looks like a war zone’: Our Observers report from inside Iran’s protests

The sudden announcement by Iran’s government on November 15 of gasoline (petrol) price hikes of as much as 300 percent has led to days of protests across the country – and violent repression by its security services. While no official tolls have been announced, reports suggest dozens of protesters have been killed and hundreds of buildings been burned: banks, gas stations, police stations and other governmental buildings. Our Observers were able to send information before a near-complete ban on foreign internet traffic was put in place on November 17.