The food crisis threatening the world due to inflation and the consequences of the Ukraine war are now also causing the first unrest in Iran. According to a report, one person was killed during protests against the massive increase in the cost of living. One person was killed during a demonstration in Desful in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, local MP Ahmed Awai told the Iranian news agency Ilna on Saturday.

The Iranian news agency IRNA reported on Friday that more than 20 people had been arrested during demonstrations in Desful and in Yasuj further east.

According to the report, angry people stormed shops and tried to set fire to a mosque in Iseh in the province of Khuzistan. MP Abdollah Isadpanah said three young people had been arrested for “throwing stones at a mosque”. Protests against the high food prices were also reported from other parts of the country, for example in the province of Tehran.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi earlier this week announced a series of measures to deal with the country’s economic crisis – including lifting state subsidies for wheat and raising prices for staple foods such as cooking oil. The subsidies cost the state around $100 billion a year but would lead to waste and corruption, according to Raisi. The measures came into force on Friday. After Raisi’s announcement, the price of cooking oil quadrupled, and eggs and chicken doubled in price.

Wheat has also become significantly more expensive – the country imports about 30 percent of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, and there are also crop failures in the country. In response to the protests, the Iranian government temporarily shut down the country’s internet.

Inflation in Iran is around 40 percent. For years, the economy has been suffering from the severe sanctions that the USA reinstated in 2018 after Washington, under then-President Donald Trump, decided to unilaterally withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

In recent months there have been repeated protests for a higher standard of living and higher wages in Iran. At the end of 2019, there were sustained nationwide demonstrations against poverty and disadvantage in Iran. The leadership in Tehran had the protests put down. According to official figures, 230 people died in violent clashes during the protests. Experts working for the United Nations, however, spoke of around 400 fatalities.