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Iranian Poultry Farmers Protest in Tehran Against Rising Costs

FILE - An Iranian man handles chickens for sale in south Tehran October 18, 2005.

Iranian state media say hundreds of poultry farmers from across the country have marched in Tehran to call on government regulators to increase consumer prices for chicken in line with rising business costs.

State news agency IRNA said about 300 farmers participated in Monday’s protest near the offices of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. It quoted a representative of the protesters as saying about 15 farmers from each Iranian province joined the rally.

IRNA said the farmers were angry that government regulators have kept consumer prices for chicken steady while costs of chicken feed have increased. The protesters’ representative said prices of corn and soybeans used as chicken feed have increased about 60 percent in the past 50 days. He said the Iranian poultry industry will face a crisis if the situation continues.

IRNA said an agriculture ministry subsidiary plans to buy poultry directly from farmers and store it to alleviate their losses. It quoted Hamid Varnasari, director of Iran’s State Livestock Affairs Logistics (SLAL), as saying the chicken purchases will continue until the poultry market is balanced.

But, a video of Monday’s protest shared on social media and verified by VOA Persian indicates that the poultry farmers distrust Iran’s agriculture ministry. In the clip, they chanted the last name of Agriculture Minister Mahmoud Hojjati and the slogan: “Have some shame, leave your post.”

Iran has seen frequent public protests nationwide since December, involving dozens to hundreds of people angered by local and national officials and business owners they view as corrupt and oppressive.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA’s Persian Service.