May 13 – Protests in Iran erupted over a sharp increase in the cost of basic goods, shortly after President Ibrahim Raisi announced a reduction in bread subsidies as the price of wheat soared around the world.

Earlier this week, an Iranian official warned the cutback and rising prices would lead to dangerous nationwide protests, as the number of Iranians living under the poverty line in the country continued to rise.

Qasem Saedi — a lawmaker from Khuzestan, one of the poorest provinces in Iran which has been hit by a severe water crisis — said Raisi’s economic team was weak and that high inflation, low incomes and the government’s failure to provide essential goods had left Iranians at breaking point.

The US State Department said it still considered Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) to be a terrorist organization, following Tehran’s request to delist the corps as a terror group.

The request to remove the IRGC from the list was made during the nuclear deal negotiations in Vienna, which have been deadlocked for months.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price, said Washington was still working to combat threats by the IRGC. Of the 107 sanctions imposed on Iran under US President Joe Biden, 86 have directly targeted the IRGC or its partners.

And two French citizens were arrested in Iran, following rising tensions between Iran and the EU over the nuclear deal. Cécile Kohler — who is the head of France’s National Federation of Education, and her husband — who is also a member of the trade union — were detained, according to media outlet Iran International.

The French government condemned the arrests on Thursday, calling them baseless, and demanded the couple’s immediate release.

Iran’s intelligence ministry said French nationals had been arrested for allegedly fomenting “insecurity” in the country, but did not release the names of the individuals.

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