While supporters of the Islamic Republic are celebrating Saturday’s missile attack on Israel, most ordinary Iranians are deeply concerned about the economic consequences of further escalation and possibility of a full-scale war.

These worries immediately became evident after Iran announced it had launched drones and missiles that would reach Israel within the next few hours. In several cities long queues formed at gas stations.

This as some groups of tens to a few hundreds of government supporters began their “celebrations” in the streets of some cities.

The general public's worries were not unfounded. The rial depreciated rapidly, even before the missiles neared Israel, falling to more than 700,000 against the dollar.

Sources in Tehran tell Iran International that the government has intervened to recover the rial’s lost value by injecting dollars into the market – taking extreme measures, such as threatening exchange bureaus and online traders with closure, to bring down the rates. Consequently, on Sunday the rial managed to recover almost to the level before the attack to around 660,000 to the dollar.

Government supporters celebrating at Tehran’s Palestine Square Saturday evening

The Tehran Stock Exchange also fell by 11,000 points (around 0.5 percent) by the end of trading on Sunday, but recovered by around five thousand points by midday Monday.

Authorities have prosecuted at least two journalists and two newspapers, including Jahan-e Sanat, an economic daily, for expressing concern over the political and economic consequences of escalation in the situation for “threatening people’s psychological security” and urged people to report anyone who takes Israel’s “side” on social media.

“Most people are still spectators of what is happening and are waiting to see what is to happen next. I don’t see patriotism and a common feeling of national pride for the attack which was on a much bigger scale than anyone thought,” Saman, a 47-year-old retailer in Tehran, told Iran International. “Most people I know believed that the ‘hard revenge’ would be limited to an attack on an Israeli embassy in one of our neighboring countries such as Georgia, Armenia or Azerbaijan,” he said.

According to Saman, people’s discussions of the situation are mainly focused on economic matters such as foreign exchange rates, the rise in the cost of housing, food, and higher inflation in general as a result of the current crisis.

This was corroborated by the statements issued by a teachers and a workers union. The Coordination Council of Teachers Associations, which is highly critical of government policies and often organizes protest rallies through its social media channels, said in a short statement on its Telegram channel that it considers the real victims of the Saturday attack on Israel to be the ordinary Iranians whose livelihoods have been affected by the cost of building the missile and drone arsenal used in the attack and its consequences.

“If a full-scale war happens, displacement and poverty will affect the [Iranian] people who are already engrossed in the difficulties of providing the minimums of their living,” the statement which also referred to Israel as “fascist” said.

The Independent Iranian Workers Union (IIWU), an underground union formed by expelled and unemployed workers in 2006, too, described the Saturday drone and missile strike as “adventurism” in a short statement on its Telegram channel and warned that Iran will turn into “scorched earth” if the conflict continues and deepens in scope.

A third group of Iranians, many among whom are supporters of the return of the monarchy, have taken Israel’s side on social media and in messages they have sent to Iran International. Images they have posted on social media show graffiti on the walls in both Persian and English.

One such graffiti reads “Hit them, Israel. Iranians are behind you.” in English. Another one in Persian promises Israel popular protests to topple the regime if Israel retaliates for the Saturday attack.

The reformist opposition has largely avoided criticism of the missile strike, while expressing concern about further escalation.

Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a prominent reformist politician and senior aide to former President Mohammad Khatami, accordingly, welcomed the strike in a tweet but called for an end to the conflict.

“War is a sinister phenomenon. The mission of the world and humanity is to prevent it. Israel attacked the Iranian consulate. The Islamic Republic responded powerfully in defense. For its part, Iran announced that it does not intend to continue [the conflict] and [engage in] war. Now it is the duty of the world to prevent the continuation of this tension. May God protect Iran and Iranians,” he wrote.

Follow developments on Iran International's Live coverage of ongoing tensions between Iran and Israel.

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