Iranian banks go bust owing billions

This footage shows large numbers of angry former customers gathering outside the headquarters of the Afzal Toos Credit Foundation in Tehran earlier this week to protest at losing their money, in many cases their life savings, when the bank recently suddenly declared bankruptcy without providing any warning or compensation to the thousands of savers. The protests have been growing outside the credit foundation, the latest of a string of financial institutions in Iran to go bust owing hundreds of billions of rials.

A number of the protesters have also staged demonstrations outside the headquarters of the country’s Central Bank, the body entrusted with licensing and supervising the country’s financial institutions, to express their anger at the lack of any action against these establishments or offers of compensation; many of the savers have been left penniless after entrusting their life savings to the state-sanctioned finance houses.

Anger is also building at the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which had unofficial but absolute control over the finance houses and which is strongly suspected of effectively looting them to fund its military ventures and the luxurious lifestyles of senior IRGC officials.

The protests have spread across Iran as more and more banks and finance houses go bankrupt due to the intensifying economic crisis, with the regime responding to the people’s anger in its usual fashion, by criminalizing the victims in an effort to terrorize the people into silence, deploying security personnel in and around the shuttered finance houses to guard the buildings and to brutally assault and arrest demonstrators demanding compensation for their stolen savings.

The protesters have taken to carrying placards calling on the government to atone for its role in the financial crisis, with messages such as ‘The parliament must stand by our side and resolve our problems’ and ‘the government has a budget deficit and they took our money’.  The protests are an embarrassment to the leadership as it attempts to show a façade of ‘moderate reformism’ and stability to the world,

Most of these gatherings were staged by people who claim they are victims of systematic deception and fraud by these credit institutions. They say their assets have been either plundered or they have received no interest for their deposits, as promised by the institutions. The protesters also maintain that they have tried to withdraw their deposits with no success.