Video courtesy of jn1.tv
The price of Iran’s beloved nut has jumped from about $1.70 per kilogram last year to $48 this year. An Iranian Internet activist has launched a rare grassroots campaign to boycott the product – which is Iran’s national snack – because pistachio prices have risen tenfold, thanks to galloping inflation.
The symbolism is powerful. Pistachios are Iran's top export after oil and are linked as much to the national identity as apple pie is to Americans or feta cheese to Greeks. According to surveys, 87% of Iranians consider the price of pistachios outrageous.
Iran’s Facebook-led pistachio boycott was probably aided by government support. In Iran accessing Facebook technically is illegal, but in February President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said cyber-organizing to fight outrageous pistachio prices was "a good job."
IT experts say Iran’s social media is, despite official repression, growing in power. They cite the pistachio protest as an example of what average Iranians with mobile phones and computer access can do, if they get mad enough.
Iran’s next election is scheduled for June. Ahmadinejad is banned from seeking a third term, and the government has said it hopes the vote will go smoothly. The question is, whether average Iranians care as much about politics, as they do about pistachios.