ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A large demonstration on Thursday evening took place in Iran's southern city of Abadan against the influx of Iraqi visitors to the area.
A video posted on social media showed hundreds of demonstrators in Khuzestan’s city of Abadan shouting the slogans, “Iraqis, out, out,” in Persian, referring to tourists who came from Iraq’s southern provinces.
“The demonstrators were protesting the influx of Iraqis from the southern provinces looking to buy Iranian goods following the collapse of the Iranian currency,” UAE-based Erem news agency reported on Thursday, quoting Iran’s Khuzestan TV channel.
On Aug. 6, the Trump administration announced the re-imposition of economic sanctions on Tehran which had been lifted when the 2015 nuclear deal was signed.
Since then, the rial, Iran’s currency, has plummeted, with many Iraqi businessmen taking advantage of the economic situation to boost their import of Iranian products.
Ismail Zamani, a member of the free economic zone in Abadan, stated there is growing dissatisfaction within the free-trading border area as Iranian business interest are vulnerable to the ongoing economic crisis and weak currency.
“The protests in the city of Abadan are against the dramatic drop in the purchasing power of the Iranian currency and the increase in the value of the Iraqi dinar against the local currency, prompting Iraqis, especially the people of Basra, to come to the city of Abadan to buy goods and other products,” Zamani added.
The two neighboring countries, which share a 1,400 kilometers-long (870 miles) border, maintain strong economic and political ties. Iran’s economy enjoy strong trade with Iraq as the oil-rich nation imports most of its products from its neighbors.
Editing by Nadia Riva