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The Daily TIP: Expert: Protests Spurred by Economic Uncertainty Show Iran’s Vulnerability to Sanctions

Posted by Tip Staff - December 28, 2017

Expert: Protests Spurred by Economic Uncertainty Show Iran's Vulnerability to Sanctions
Two Synagogues in Iranian City of Shiraz Reportedly Vandalized
Lebanese Foreign Minister Under Fire For Saying Israel Should Live in Security
WATCH: Tel Avivians Build Record-Breaking Tower from Legos in Memory of 8-Year-Old Boy

Expert: Protests Spurred by Economic Uncertainty Show Iran's Vulnerability to Sanctions
Sanctions expert Richard Goldberg assessed that economic protests breaking out across Iran are a sign of Iranian vulnerability to economic pressure, writing, "Decertification is working. It’s time to increase the pressure on Iranian regime in every way possible, not weaken it."

The protests, Reuters reported Thursday, are driven by Iranians believing that they have not received the economic benefits of the nuclear deal "due to corruption and mismanagement."

The protests, which have been spurred by high prices, have been reported in Mashad, Iran's second largest city, as well as in Neyshabour and Kashmar, in the Razavi Khorasan Province.

Protesters, in addition to chanting "Death to Rouhani," referring to Iran's current president, also chanted "leave Syria, think about us." Iran has backed the regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad with both military support and billions of dollars worth of economic aid.

Unemployment, according to according to the Statistical Centre of Iran, has increased by 1.4 percent during the current fiscal year to 12.4 percent. An estimated 3.2 million Iranians, out of a population of 80 million, are out of work.

Mashad's Governor Mohammad Rahim Norouzian told Iran's state news agency, IRNA, that the protests were spurred by “enemies of the Islamic Republic” and “counter-revolutionaries."

The current protests reflect ongoing dissatisfaction with Iran's economy reflected in protests by retirees earlier this year.

Two Synagogues in Iranian City of Shiraz Reportedly Vandalized

Two synagogues have been vandalized in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, with attackers ripping Torah scrolls, prayer books and ritual objects, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on Thursday.

The Kashi Synagogue was attacked Sunday night, while the Hadash synagogue came under assault on Monday afternoon. Blurred video footage aired on television showed damage done to the prayer houses.

A member of the local Jewish community told Channel 10 that the attack was related to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“Obviously they are scared,” Sam Kermanian, senior adviser to the Iranian-American Jewish Federation, who has been in touch with Jews from Shiraz, told JTA. “They’re not comfortable speaking freely, but overall, life goes on.”

The perpetrators ripped Torah scrolls, damaged dozens of prayer books, some of which were thrown in the toilet, and “soiled” prayer shawls and tefillin, the leather phylacteries traditionally worn by men during prayers. The attackers also broke glass and stole silver ornaments that adorned the synagogues’ Torah scrolls.

“In light of these clearly anti-Semitic incidents we call upon the authorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran to ensure the protection of all places of worship as well as all members of our community, and to bring the perpetrators of these criminal acts to justice,” read a statement by leaders of the Iranian-American Jewish Federation.

About 10,000 Jews live in Iran at present and Kermanian warned that anti-Semitic propaganda has been on the rise in Iran in recent months.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Under Fire For Saying Israel Should Live in Security

Lebanon's foreign minister has come under fire from other members of the government for saying in an interview earlier this week that "we are not against Israel living in security," Reuters reported Thursday.

Gebran Bassil made the comments in an interview with al-Mayadin television channel, which is affiliated with Hezbollah, on Tuesday. In response to criticisms from other members of Lebanon's government Bassil said that his comments were taken out of context by editing but didn't explain how.

A former government minister called on Bassil to resign and he has been criticized by others.

Lebanon, according to an assessment in August by Maj.- Gen. Herzi Halevi, head of Israel's military intelligence, is under ever tighter control by Hezbollah, the Iran-backed terrorist group.

Hezbollah and the Lebanese Armed Forces have fought side by side against ISIS in northeastern Lebanon, further demonstrating the complete political and military control the Iranian-backed group exerts over its host country.

In November Tony Badran, an expert on Lebanon, said that Prime Minister Saad Hariri's short-lived resignation was a sign that “Lebanon is an Iranian satrapy run by Hezbollah."

WATCH: Tel Avivians Build Record-Breaking Tower from Legos in Memory of 8-Year-Old Boy

Excitement mounted like LEGO blocks in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on the afternoon of December 27, as the Young Engineers group unveiled a 36-meter (118.11-foot) tower expected to break the Guinness world record for the highest toy-bricks structure ever.

In all, more than half a million toy bricks were used in the project, dubbed the “Omer Tower” in memory of Omer Sayag, who died of cancer at the age of 8½ and loved constructing with plastic bricks.

Parts of the colorful tower were built at community centers around the city from December 12 through 20, enabling residents to interact and join in this mammoth and fun project, which was conceived by Omer’s former preschool teachers Shirli Bardugo and Ben Klinger.

The Young Engineers group, which teaches scientific and mathematical principles to schoolchildren using K’nex and LEGO bricks, oversaw putting together all the premade parts into the final skyscraper.

Guinness has not yet officially confirmed that the Israeli structure surpasses the previous record-holder, built in Milan in 2015. But that’s just a formality – the Italian tower stood just 35.05 meters.

(via Israel21c)

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