Hardship blunts Iranian interest in Arab protests

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s leaders say uprisings in the Arab world were inspired by its 1979 revolution, but most ordinary Iranians are too worn down by economic hardship to care about the export of their system of Islamic rule.

“Our movement was suppressed and now we are just so busy with skyrocketing living costs after the removal of subsidies on fuel and food,” said Abbas, a shopkeeper in downtown Tehran, who refused to give his last name.

Customers in his small grocery store talk less of the Arab spring’ uprisings that are reshaping geopolitics in the region, and more of the sudden price rise of items like cheese, eggs and fresh produce since subsidies were slashed at the end of the Persian year in March.

A small television in Abbas’s shop is constantly tuned to the state-run new channel where bloody images of suppressed protests in Bahrain are a regular feature as Tehran rails against the Sunni monarchy’s actions against Shi’ite protesters.


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