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Iran: Protesters Chant “Death to Khamenei” Over Building Collapse that Killed 34 by Robert Semonsen

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Iran: Protesters Chant “Death to Khamenei” Over Building Collapse that Killed 34

In the wake of a building collapse last week that killed 34 people and injured 37 others, incensed protesters who took to the streets in several cities across Iran were heard chanting anti-government slogans, including “death to Khamenei,” a reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, videos circulating across social media platforms have revealed.

While authorities say the collapse of Abadan’s Metropol Building, a ten-story residential and commercial building that had been under construction, happened as a result of individual corruption and less than satisfactory safety standards, Iranian demonstrators are blaming the tragedy—the deadliest of its kind to hit Iran in years—on government negligence and endemic corruption.

So far, police have arrested thirteen people over the collapse, including the mayor of Abadan, two former mayors, and the building contractor, according to a report from the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

The deadly incident, which took place on May 23rd last, sparked eight days of protests in the city, as the country reels from sporadic unrest across at least six of its provinces over skyrocketing food prices and other economic troubles. 

Abadan, located in Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan Province, is home to Iran’s Arab minority, who for many years now have accused those in the power of treating them as second-class citizens.

Robert Semonsen is a political journalist based in Central Europe. His work has been featured in various English-language news outlets in Europe and the Americas. He has an educational background in biological and medical science. His Twitter handle is @R_Semonsen.