Why Current Protests in Iran Differ From 2009

By INU Staff

INU - What differs in Iran today, compared to 2009, is that Khamenei placed his weight behind Ahmadinejad and directed a massive crackdown quelling the protesters’ demands. In 2018, the Iranian regime understands very well how opening fire on protesters will fuel the protests’ flames. In fact, posts on social media seem to indicate low morale among the security forces, who are unwilling to open fire upon protesters even if ordered to do so.

These rallies are different from those that occurred in 2009. Since these protests began with economic demands, and demonstrators have escalated to an ultimatum of fundamental regime change. Demonstrations have spiraled into a general outcry against the ruling elite and policies inside the country and abroad.

Crowds have taken to the streets in Kermanshah, Rasht, Isfahan, and 100 other towns and cities all over Iran. Social media is providing up-to-date reports of rallies. Slogans display the peoples’ resentment, exposing the regime’s vulnerability far beyond the scope of many Western analysts’ prior arguments. Cries of “Death to Rouhani,” and “Clerics Must Go” along with chants of “Leave Syria, start thinking about us,” as well as, “Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, my life for Iran,” are heard.

Tehran allocates billions of dollars in revenue from oil and gas to meddling in the regions, including assisting the Assad regime in Syria, the Lebanese Hezbollah, Shiite militias in Iraq and the Houthis of Yemen. The benefits believed to follow the lifting of sanctions via the nuclear deal have not been seen by ordinary Iranians.

Meanwhile, in various cities, protesters attack police stations; tip over police vehicles and set police motorcycles on fire. The people in Iran are reportedly threatening to take up arms in response to any crackdown by the regime.

Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi is hailing the protests, saying, “The ongoing protests in different cities against the regime reveal the explosive state of Iranian society and the people’s desire for regime change.” The Iranian opposition hopes that the international community will formally recognize the Iranian people’s demand for regime change and the legitimacy of the organized resistance pursuing this objective.

Unlike 2009 uprising, where Obama administration was fully supporting the brutal regime and gave a blind eye on the violent suppression of protesters the current US administration led by President Trump actively siding with the protesters. President Trump yesterday twitted saying
“The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime. All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their “pockets.” The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights.”

On Tuesday January 2, 2017.U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley praised Iranian protesters Tuesday, adding that the US is seeking an emergency Security Council meeting in New York and the Human Rights Council in Geneva regarding Iran. CNN reported.

"The people of Iran are crying out for freedom," Haley said. "All freedom-loving people must stand with their cause."

"This is the precise picture of a long oppressed people rising up against their dictators. The international community has a role to play on this. The freedoms that are enshrined in the United Nations charter are under attack in Iran," she said. "If the Iranian dictatorships history is any guide, we can expect more outrageous abuses in the days to come. The UN must speak out."

She continued: "We must not be silent. The people are crying out for freedom. All freedom loving people must stand with their cause. The international community made the mistake of failing to do that in 2009. We must not make that mistake again."

Her remarks reflect a broader, concerted effort by the administration to encourage the large-scale demonstrations, which have swept the country since Thursday. Earlier Tuesday, Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein said the United States wants to encourage protestors in Iran to "continue to fight for what's right and to open up Iran."
"Right now we're going to have conversations with the Security Council and see what we need to do to have an emergency session," Haley added about Iran. "One way or another, we will have a meeting on what is happening in Iran and their protests and their fight for freedom."

The demonstrations in Iran, which have erupted against a backdrop of rising food and gasoline prices, began Thursday in the northeastern city of Mashhad before spreading to other cities. At least 30 people have been killed as a result of the protests and over 2000 people have been arrested with thousand injured.

What is important more than anything else is practical measure to be urgently taken by US administration and internationally to make sure that the burial regime would not repeat the same suppression as he did in 2009. In addition, to support the right of people for regime change and recognize NCRI, the only viable alternative to this regime.