Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has warned domestic media against using several words in their reporting on rising prices and ongoing anti-government protests in the country.
According to information received by Iran International on Saturday, the ministry has prohibited the media from using words such as "economic surgery", "violent confrontation", "clashing with people" and "sit-in", threatening them with judicial penalties.
“Economic surgery” is a term used by many government officials, including first deputy prime minister Mohammad Mokhber, to refer to the elimination of food import subsidies by President Ebrahim Raisi’s administration that has led to a rapid rise in prices and an explosive social situation. The phrase has been used by some critics of the government in political cartoons and articles.
Recently, an audio message was sent to all producers and presenters of Radio Farhang, telling them to avoid reporting economic woes and the government's responsibility and threatening them that mistakes will not be forgiven because these issues are now "viewed as [national] security matters."
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who charts the country's macro-policies, including the economy, takes no personal responsibility for the failures and has on several occasions publicly blamed the government of President Ebrahim Raisi's predecessor, Hassan Rouhani, for economic troubles.
Anti-government unrest in Iran triggered by a sudden rise in food prices spread further on Friday, with officials blaming foreign-based Persian-speaking media.