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Iranians divided over rising inflation....and chicken? (VIDEO)

Chicken becomes a social flashpoint as meat prices rise due to inflation in Iran

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Wendy's moves to improve animal welfare in chicken and pork suppliers by using a new system to slaughter animals. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

The price of food and fuel is climbing in Iran due to international sanctions over its nuclear program - and the lowly chicken has become a potent symbol of the nation's financial woes, reports Reuters. 

Chicken is a popular meat in Iran, and it's also becoming considerably more expensive due to the high cost of chicken feed in relation to Iran's weakened currency, Reuters reports.

Currently, 2.2 pounds of chicken now costs a little over $5, reports Reuters, in a nation where average gross national income per capita was a mere $4,250 in 2009 - only about $377 a month. 

The rise in prices is particularly galling during the celebratory month of Ramadan, reports the Guardian. 

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The Wall Street Journal reported that rising chicken prices sparked a protest in the northeastern Iranian city of Neishabour, where demonstrators complained about inflation, and called for an ouster of the current government. The video embedded below purports to show the demonstration: 

"Chicken politics," as it has been dubbed in Iran, has become a major media flashpoint due to the protein's remarkable symbolism among Iranian consumers, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Iranian national police chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam stepped into the poultry fray this month, claiming that televised images of happy families enjoying a nice chicken meal might lead to damaging social tension, reports Reuters.

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 According to Reuters, the Mehr news agency quoted Moghaddam as saying "Certain people witnessing this class gap between the rich and the poor might grab a knife and think they will get their share from the wealthy."

Even the top brass have taken notice: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad organized an emergency meeting with Iran's poultry council, the Wall Street Journal says. 

This isn't the first food fracas Ahmadinejad has been involved in: in 2006, he demanded that eternally-popular pizza be rebranded "elastic loaves," in an effort to combat the creep of foreign words into Persian, reported Fox News. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/120725/iranians-divided-over-rising-inflationand-chicken-vide