Your majesty. Your realm is deteriorating. Your subjects have been reduced to begging. They are being oppressed and exploited by governors and officials whose greed and blood thirst knows no bounds.
Last year, tax payers who could not pay cash had to sell their daughters to Turkmans and Armenian merchants who then sold them into slavery in Russia. Thousands of your subjects have had to flee this oppression and go to Russia …
If remedies are not found, the country will be dismantled. The British will take over Sistan and Baluchistan; the Russians other parts; and the Ottomans have their down designs … Your majesty, listen to the plight of fifteen million souls who live in fear of being imprisoned by the foreigners.
—Mohammad Ibn Sadegh-al Hossaini Tabatabi
Abrahamian, Ervand. A History of Modern Iran. New York: Cambridge University Press. Print, p.42.
Editor’s Note: Protesters in Iran expressed great fears of foreigners and foreign influence. While many intellectuals and Islamic scholars believed a constitution and the formal establishment of laws would strengthen the country against outside influence, another challenge existed in the economy. Foreign currency often drove down values of local currencies and inflation soared driving up prices for local goods that also had to be imported. This was often a leading cause of xenophobia and Islamic resistance. People felt they were slowly being bankrupt by foreign powers over the prices of items like bread, sugar, and shoes yet there was no economic infrastructure of their own. Banks that were established by outside powers and became sites of protests.