Economic stress in Iran sparks fast-growing “I won’t buy” social media campaign

Economic stress in Iran sparks fast-growing “I won’t buy” social media campaign
An Iran Khodro assembly line in Tehran. The carmaker has halted all sales of new cars as it bids to implement price rises amid growing economic pressure in Iran.
By bne IntelliNews June 17, 2018

Economic stress felt in Iran has produced a growing social media campaign named “I won’t buy” that drives a boycott of expensive products that have lately seen big price hikes despite government consumer protection measures, Iranian media outlets reported on June 17.

The civil disobedience campaign, present on Persian-language social media channels, is reportedly gathering momentum quickly and has prompted all sections of society to comment on the increasing cost of day to day living in Iran. Price increases of up to 30% have occurred despite government price-fixing rules on fast moving consumer goods (FMCG). The Iranian rial (IRR) is languishing, while official inflation only stands somewhere around 10%. On June 7, largest Iranian carmaker Iran Khodro (IKCO) halted all sales of new cars amid a push to increase the overall prices of its vehicles.

A football player, Ali Karimi, who is not part of the current squad at the World Cup in Russia, has become one leading voice among the so-called “Instagrameratti”. His channel boasts more than one hundred thousand followers.

There is hot debate in the country of 80 million under the “I won’t buy” hashtag about positions taken by the Rouhani administration prior to, and after, the US unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal and announced sanctions designed to throttle the Iranian economy in a bid to force Tehran to the table to negotiate a wider-ranging accord—or, according to some analysts, in an effort to provoke social discord and trigger regime change. There is also debate over the poor state of negotiations on adherence to international banking laws, such as in relation to intergovernmental organisation Financial Action Task Force (on Money Laundering), otherwise known as FATF.

Meanwhile, in another sign of growing discontent among Iranians over their declining economic situation, students who have formed the “Justice Seeking Movement”, have written to the Tehran Prosecutor General’s office to call for the immediate eviction of former Chief-of-Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces General Hassan Firouzabadi from his home of 25 years. They claim he has not paid any rent on the state property.