US wants India to stop importing oil from Iran by November

Thousands of Iranians shut down Tehran's Grand Bazaar in largest protest in years

Thousands of Iranians shut down Tehran's Grand Bazaar in largest protest in years

Tehran's prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi said some protesters near the bazaar were arrested on Monday and would not be released before going to trial.

"We are fighting against the United States, it wants to make an economic war", the president said.

The protest that shook the world on December 28 in Mashhad, Iran's second-largest city, and quickly spread throughout the country has picked up steam in the last few days - this time in Tehran.

Rage persists over the plunging of the Iranian rial to 90,000 to the dollar - double the government rate of 42,000 rials to $1 - as people watch their savings dwindle and shopkeepers hold onto some goods, uncertain of their true value. Iran reached the 2015 agreement, which called for it to curb its nuclear programme in return for the easing of sanctions, with the United States, the UK, France, Germany, China and Russian Federation.

This has resulted in people taking to the streets in the capital to protest the government as the country's currency was devalued in the last week.

President Rouhani defended his economic record in a live televised address, saying the government's income hadn't shrunk and pinning the blame for Iran's currency woes on "foreign media propaganda". In his sermon celebrating the end of Ramadan, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei urged his countrymen to stop going overseas and taking foreign currency out of Iran.

"Withdrawal was the worst decision [the USA president] could make". Some have suggested the latest USA move is part of its efforts to influence crunch talks in Vienna next month between Iran and the other signatories to the nuclear deal. Iran agreed to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

"If Saudi Arabia cannot offset the loss of Iranian oil, then Washington could always tap into its Strategic Petroleum Reserve".

And sanctions or not, some believe that Japan is unlikely to completely cut itself off from Iranian oil.

In the latest US push against Tehran, a senior USA official said on Tuesday that countries buying oil from Iran should prepare to halt all imports of it starting in November or face punishment. General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, a senior adviser to the country's Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei said, "It is all of our duty to work together to help the respected government and other governmental branches in solving the economic problems". He also said that the country will soon tighten the noose on Tehran as it is on their list of national security.

"The predisposition would be no, we're not granting waivers", the official said. The official wasn't authorized to be identified by name and briefed reporters on condition of anonymity. For a leader who relies so much on the dictum "America First", Mr Trump should realise that other countries too have the right to put their own interests first.

The Iranian parliament showed the level of discontent over Rouhani's performance, issuing a letter, signed by 187 representatives - more than half of the total - asking that the president change his administration's economic team.

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