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The Debate

Backlash in Iran: Sudden cut in fuel subsidies sparks nationwide protests

THE DEBATE
THE DEBATE FRANCE 24

How far will protests in Iran go? Last Friday's decision to suddenly reduce fuel subsidies sparked an immediate backlash in cities across the country, with the biggest protests since 2017 spreading like wildfire. What prompted the government's decision? We ask about the subsidies themselves: citizens of many OPEC nations see cheap fuel as a birthright. But what about the environment, how much they encourage smuggling with neighbouring countries and the strain on state coffers?

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Still, why take such a gamble? Is it proof that US sanctions are indeed biting? On that score, the pressure abroad is not only coming from rivals in Washington or Riyadh. It is also coming from the Arab street.

And as hardliners and moderates jostle for the upper hand in Tehran, Shia parts of neighbouring Iraq are openly calling for an end to Iranian influence. We ask about new revelations published by The Intercept and The New York Times that throw the spotlight on Iran's strategy for taking on comers both at home and abroad.

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Jimena Morales-Velasco.

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