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Iran arrests at least 22 protesting staple food price hikes

TEHRAN, IRAN (AP) – Iranian authorities have arrested at least 22 demonstrators who had been protesting sudden price hikes of subsidised staple foods in two southern cities, state media reported early yesterday.

The arrests follow Iran’s announcement this week that the cost of cooking oil, chicken, eggs and milk would rise by as much as 300 per cent, as food prices surge across the Middle East due to global supply chain snarls and Russia’s invasion of major food exporter Ukraine.

The state-run IRNA news agency reported that 15 people were arrested overnight in the southwestern city of Dezful in Khuzestan province, as well as seven others in the city of Yasuj.

The report also said that 200 people had gathered in a city in Khuzestan province – Andimeshk – where one firefighter was injured after demonstrators threw stones at police and firefighters.

The situation had calmed in all areas by yesterday, IRNA added, posting pictures of President Ebrahim Raisi meeting shoppers in Tehran to hear their concerns.

Before the demonstrations, advocacy group said that Internet disruptions were reported across the country as the government braced for possible unrest.