Oct 4, 2012
The Iranian government Wednesday, Oct. 3, invoked the emergency measures drawn up for the 2009 protests to deploy large-scale Bassij militia forces in the capital and put down the first angry protests against mounting economic hardship and the plummeting rial.
DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report two waves of riots swept through Tehran’s trading centers Wednesday:
the stores trading gold coins and foreign currency on Fereowsi, Estanbol and Manoucheri Streets, and the celebrated gold jewelry market in the Tehran Bazaar.
Money changers and gold traders attacked police forces and torched their vehicles, playing cat and mouse with the officers after they arrested some of the money changers and accused them of black market dealings.
This was part of the regime’s effort to curtail the steep plunge of the Iranian currency against the dollar. Wednesday, a dollar went for 40,000 rials compared with 37,500 rials Tuesday and 24,000 only a week ago.
Fearing that the troubles Wednesday presaged a general strike shutting down the bazaar for an indefinite period, the authorities decided to draw the line before the unrest spread to the rest of the capital and other cities.