The Iranian people believed that the 2015 nuclear agreement, which lifted various sanctions, would benefit them. Instead, it benefits the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the regime, while the average Iranian loses government aid. Unemployment is high, impacting the ability for ordinary people to find work, and care for their families. The Iranian youth, who have struggled to gain higher education degrees find that these degrees are essentially worthless. They are justifiably angry over the large portion of military funding spent on Iran’s weapons’ programs, specifically its ballistic missiles.

Mohammed Al Shaikh writes in his article for Al Arabiya that, “When it finally gives up these programs, it will become clear that all of its political and expansionist agendas — be they in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen have been complete failures.” He adds that he believes that Iran will continue to suppress the protests using the Revolutionary Guards, calling the IRGC “as brutal as the ISIS militia, the only difference between the two being their sectarian divergence.” According to Al Shaikh, the IRGC are driven by what the clerics say, and are deeply embedded in Vilayat-e-Faqih doctrine. He says that they do not give a second’s thought before attacking those who face them.

The Iranian people, who are struggling with the poverty and corruption of the country’s economy have shown their dissatisfaction with the current regime during the turn of the year uprising. Many believe the country is on the verge of a civil war, especially if the United States continues its sanctions and reduces Iran’s ability to become part of the global economy.

The Revolutionary Guards will certainly try to suppress an event such as this, at all costs. Al Shaikh writes, ‘Therefore, all the objective indicators point that if hungry people revolt en masse, the Revolutionary Guard can only confront them with the force of arms. If we look at Bashar’s experience in Syria as a case in point, then we can see that he was only able to withstand the ire of Syrian masses with the help of Russians.”

It is feared that a revolution in Iran will become a civil war like the one in Syria. However, economic failures can cause civil wars.