Iran protests ‘won’t end until regime falls’

In this video grab made from a video by Nasim News Agency, a cleric speaks to a crowd of protesters demonstrating in Mashhad, in the Khorasan Razavi province, on August 3, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 07 August 2018
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Iran protests ‘won’t end until regime falls’

  • About 500 protesters attacked a seminary in the northern province of Alborz
  • Protests have rocked major cities across Iran amid mounting anger over the country’s economy and political system

LONDON: A religious school was attacked in Iran late Friday as public protests spread, in an uprising one policy expert said would continue “until the regime falls.”
Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency said Saturday that about 500 protesters attacked a seminary in the northern province of Alborz, hurling stones and leading to several arrests.
Protests have rocked major cities across Iran — including Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz and Mashhad — amid mounting anger over the country’s economy and political system.
Alireza Nader, an independent Iran scholar based in Washington, said the Iranian government was unlikely to listen to calls made by the protesters.
“Iran is experiencing a nationwide uprising which won’t end until the regime falls or makes fundamental reforms. History shows it won’t pursue the latter,” Nader told Arab News.
“Iranians simply have had enough of the misery inflicted on them over the past 40 years. The regime could resort to major violence, but that’s likely to create an even bigger rebellion.”
Videos shared on social media in recent days have shown crowds of protesters in several cities, chanting slogans such as “death to the dictator” and those demanding an end to Iran’s regional interventions in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.
In the city of Mashhad, a cleric was seen in a video telling a sizeable crowd that “most of your representatives don’t care about people’s problems,” according to Qom News.
Nader said that the protests amount to the “most widespread anti-regime resistance movement” since the 1979 revolution in which Iran’s shah was overthrown.
The current protests follow unrest in December and January, when at least 25 people were killed in demonstrations that spread to dozens of towns and cities.
They come ahead of a new wave of US sanctions on Iran, the first phase of which will be introduced Tuesday, and involve blocks on financial transactions and imports of raw materials among other measures.


Egypt offers residency to foreign investors

Updated 58 min 26 sec ago
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Egypt offers residency to foreign investors

  • A three-year residency is on offer for those who invest $200,000, and five years for those who purchase property worth $400,000
  • To begin the process for obtaining Egyptian residency, a preliminary contract must be agreed between the property owner and the foreign investor

CAIRO: In an attempt to further boost its booming real estate sector and attract foreign investment, Egypt will grant residency permits to foreigners who invest at least $100,000 in the country’s property market.
The growth rate of Egypt’s property market stands at 133 percent in 2018. This has been fueled by strong demand for housing, along with the sporadic launch of residential construction projects.
The minimum investment required to obtain a residency permit is $100,000. A three-year residency is on offer for those who invest $200,000, and five years for those who purchase property worth $400,000. The offer also applies to properties that are still under construction.
Khaled Abbas, the deputy minister of housing, said the procedures for the scheme are being set up in consultation with the Passport, Immigration and Nationality Administration.
To begin the process for obtaining Egyptian residency, a preliminary contract must be agreed between the property owner and the foreign investor, and then signed by an authorized body, such the Urban Communities Authority, the Tourism Development Authority or the governorate in which the property is located. Bank statements must also be provided confirming that the money has been transferred from overseas. The passport office will then approve the period of residence.
Members of the House of Representatives welcomed the announcement as a positive move for Egypt and an incentive for foreign investment, which it is hoped will create jobs and economic opportunities.
Whether the public will be so keen remains to be seen.
“This might be a bit problematic,” said Aly Salem, a resident of Cairo. “The housing demand in Egypt is already high, with the surging youth population and more and more people looking to get married each year. Where will they stay, if foreigners start swooping in and acquiring both residency and a huge housing unit with just $100,000?”
Offering further details, Gen. Kamel Amer, the head of the Parliament’s Defense and National Security Committee, said foreigners will not have any political rights for the first five years of residency and they will not be eligible to vote for 10 years. He also said spouses and children of investors will not be granted residency unless they live in Egypt.
Spain and Portugal have implemented similar programs in an attempt to boost their property markets. Previously, a foreigner had to live in Egypt for 10 consecutive years to be eligible for naturalization.
The new residency law is part of the efforts to repair the damage to Egypt’s economy caused by severe austerity measures imposed after the $12 billion loan package from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.
The cost and size of properties in Egypt, which are often large and lavish apartments, compare favorably to those in many other countries. Despite this, few Egyptians can afford to pay for a house upfront, but some private property developers are offering 10-year, interest-free installment plans.