“Death to Rouhani!” “Leave Syria, do something for Iran!”


This footage shows another recent massive protest in front of the Tehran Public Prosecutor’s office, this one on December 17, 2017, by disgruntled savers left penniless by more recent closures of state-backed financial institutions.

The protesters at Sunday’s event voiced anger at the government’s lack of action to resolve the country’s worsening financial crisis, chanting slogans like “Death to Rouhani!”, “Leave Syria and do something for Iran!” And “Our biggest mistake was our revolution in 1979!”

While few Iranians previously dared to publicly criticize the regime for fear of the punishment they might face as a result, the current economic crisis, which has seen a string of state-backed financial institutions close, leaving many savers penniless with no hope of compensation, along with surging unemployment levels, has led more and more citizens to participate in angry protests. The financial institutions in question are almost all affiliated to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which is close to the Supreme Leader Khamenei and has de facto control over much of the country’s economy.

The government’s failure to provide any compensation to the millions of savers across Iran affected by the closures, many of whom have lost their life savings, despite the finance houses being state-backed, has added to public frustration; many such credit institutions were established in the past decade, attracting many citizens with promises of high-interest rates and excellent returns on their savings. Many of these institutions are now known to have operated without the correct licenses and despite a shocking lack of regulatory oversight, with a large number forced to file for bankruptcy after investing recklessly or approving too many high-value loans which went unpaid; these factors, along with the lack of accountability, have increased suspicions amongst the disgruntled savers over management practices and the real owner of the defunct institutions.