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Iran: Stock market investor hold protests in several cities

Protests by creditors and investors in several Iranian cities - April 21, 2021
Protests by creditors and investors in several Iranian cities - April 21, 2021

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, April 22, 2021—On Wednesday, investors of Tehran’s stock market demonstrated in Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, and Tabriz. The creditors, who have lost their savings due to the regime’s corrupt policies, are demanding the refund of their lost investments.

In Tehran, the protesters had gathered in front of the Tehran Stock Exchange and blocked the road. The protesters were chanting, “Down with Rouhani,” and “Down with the revolutionary Majlis [parliament],” referring to the role of regime president Hassan Rouhani and other senior regime officials in triggering the stock market crash.

“We will fight, we will die, we will take back Iran,” the protesters chanted, reflecting the frustration and outrage of the general public at the regime in its entirety. The protesters were also chanting, “We will not live under tyranny. We will give our lives for freedom.”

In Isfahan, the protesters gathered in front of the headquarters of the Security and Exchange Organization. Here too the protesters chanted political and anti-regime slogans, including, “Down with Rouhani,” “We will not live under tyranny.”

They also made it clear that the regime’s leadership are all in on the corruption behind the stock market crash. “The supreme leader’s office is silent on the theft of people’s money,” the protesters chanted, referring to regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei, who was very vocal about in encouraging people to invest in the stock market and has remained silent on its sudden crash.

The protesters also chanted against Ebrahim Raisi, the chief of the regime’s judiciary, who has taken no measure to punish the perpetrators of the financial crime. “Raisi, Raisi, how could you have missed such a big thief,” the protesters chanted. It is worth noting that Raisi’s own officials are being tried and investigated for corruption charges.

“We’ve seen no justice, we won’t vote anymore,” the protesters chanted, echoing slogans by other communities who have been calling for the boycott of the regime’s upcoming presidential elections, scheduled for June.

In Mashhad, the protesters gathered in front of the governorate. “Shame on our officials,” the protesters chanted. “The government betrays the people and the leader supports them,” the protesters chanted, indicating that the regime in its entirety is involved in corruption.

The protesters directly targeted Khamenei in other slogans and they also stressed that they will not be voting in the regime’s upcoming elections.

Last year, the government created hype around the stock market, luring many small investors to put in their life savings in the Tehran Stock Exchange. Many studies point out that Rouhani and his government blew the stock market bubble in the early months of 2020.

It is worth noting that Iranian regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei also recommended investment in the stock market. According to the state-run Fars news agency, in a meeting with a group of producers, entrepreneurs, and economic activists, Khamenei encouraged the general public to participate in productive investments such as cooperatives and the stock market.

In turn, Rouhani advertised a lot about the stock market and people's need to invest in this market.

According to a report by the state-run IBENA website, at a cabinet meeting on April 22, 2020, Rouhani said: "In the year of the ‘production leap,’ the capital market is one of the ways of our economic movement.”

While the value of shares in Tehran Stock Exchange were skyrocketing and economy experts were warning that the bubble will burst, Rouhani said, “Don’t listen to what they’re saying. They are mad that our stock market is flourishing and they’re saying stock markets across the world have been disrupted. Iran’s stock market is flourishing because of the activities of economic players.”

The regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei also joined the chorus and in October had encouraged the public to invest in the stock market.

But at the beginning, as many had warned, Iran’s stock market crashed, wiping away billions of dollars’ worth of investor money. The artificial boom and bust of the stock market, which has caused massive benefits to regime-linked organizations that pulled out their investments early, is in the context of a wave of deceitful tactics meant for the government to steal what little the Iranian people have left in their accounts and pockets. Some of these methods include manipulation of the currency exchange rate, unbalanced adjustment of pensions, and increase of taxes on different goods.