- Published: Thursday, 18 January 2018
By INU Staff
INU -When tens of thousands of Iranians spontaneously began a protest in Mashhad on December 28th, which spread across the county in the ensuing days, Iran’s regime faced a serious threat. As the Iranian people cast aside fears of state security, they sent a message to the regime, telling them that enough was enough.
Tehran used fundamen¬talist Basij militants to suppress the potential uprising, and while control appears to have been regained in most towns and cities, there is no doubt that Iranians are fed up with the economic situation, the corruption, and the repression that they endure.
Mainstream media outlets all seem to be discussing the battle between the regime’s hard¬liners and the so-called reformists, who they allege are trying to pull the regime away from hardcore Shia Islamism to a more “moderate” stance that is friendly to the West.
However, it is not as simple as the hardliners being representative of a xenophobic and iso¬lationist political trend, and the moderates attempting to be part of the international commu¬nity. Many people call the moderates “false”, and claim they are a part of the systemic problem that can be traced to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. While President Hassan Rouhani ran on a “moderate” platform, in fact, nothing can happen in Iran without Khamenei’s approval, no matter who is in office.
Roha¬ni had promised that the nuclear deal would grant Iranians a better life, and that they would be freer and more able to engage with the outside world. Iranians put their faith in Rohani, but Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had had the final say about where to take a post-sanctions Iran.
With billions of dollars flowing into Iran, the Iranian people are experiencing hyperinflation, increasing the price of staple foods, basic goods, and services. Instead, the regime uses the money to finance campaigns of foreign conquest in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, rather than alleviate the suffering of its own people.
Investments that could help reverse the desertification of Lake Urmia, relieve unemployment, and provide economic opportunities are preferable to spending their money on military campaigns abroad, for ordinary Iranians.
Poverty in Iran has become ubiquitous. People are desperate because they cannot support their families. Many poor people have turned to drugs, and this, in turn, has led to the executions of the highest number of people per capita in the world.
What caused working-class Iranians of all ethnic and religious backgrounds to explode with such anger? It is apparent that the regime must find a way to respond to the recent message of its people.
Source: the Arab Weekly