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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The number of victims is growing: who and what is behind the protests in Iran

From Iran come alarming news in the country does not stop the unrest, which began at the end of last year. The protests erupted on 28 December in the city of Mashhad. It all started under the slogans against high prices for goods and services, then the indignation of the participants of street protests spread to the policies of the Iranian authorities. In particular, the object of harsh criticism has become the Supreme leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Special anxiety event give messages about the growing number of victims of the confrontation.

photo: AP

According to Iranian English-language newspaper Tehran Times, according to some, the action in Mashhad gathered in protest against the collapse of some financial institutions went bankrupt and were unable to return depositors ‘ money. It is reported that these companies had a license from the Central Bank, but to pay depositors high interest rates.

Beginning in Mashhad, the protests spread to other cities of Iran. The current presentation is already called the biggest since 2009, when the background of presidential elections in the country were strong demonstrations of opposition. At the same time, TRITA Parsi, founder and President of the National Iranian American Council, said that most of the participants of the current shares differ from protesting in 2009 – it’s the people who don’t trust reformists movement or lost hope in him. The participants of the latest developments do not use the slogans and ideas of 2009. According to some reports, protesters vykruchivaut slogans praising the representatives of the Shah dynasty of Iran, ousted in the Islamic revolution.

Economic improvement expected in connection with the adoption of a Joint comprehensive plan of action (agreement between Tehran and the international “six” on the Iranian nuclear program), not too touched the lives of ordinary Iranians. Many expressed dissatisfaction with high unemployment and rising prices on some goods. Some economic troubles he blames government corruption. Different experts have different assessments of the causes of the current unrest in Iran. In particular, a conservative Iranian politician Ahmad Tavakkoli sees as the reasons for the “rebellion” the adoption by the administration of President Hassan Rouhani jestkii economic measures of the International monetary Fund, as well as the failure of the management of financial institutions. Other observers explain the reasons for the disturbance of the theocratic nature of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In particular, the Iranian author Majid Mohammadi sees three reasons for the outbreak of the protests: corruption, economic hardship and religious authoritarianism. In some places during the demonstrations, there were calls for Ayatollah Khamenei to resign, and posters with his image even indulged in the fire.

In some places, the outrage resulted in violent acts. For the first year, victims of the confrontation were at least twelve (according to some reports – about 20). In particular, it is reported that 9 people were killed in the attack on the police stations in the city of Kadareja and Najafabad killed a member of one of the Pro-government paramilitary organizations. Hundreds of protesters arrested by law enforcement.

“The current protests look like a threat, but they actually represent an unforgettable opportunity to look at existing problems”, – said the President of the Islamic Republic Hassan Rouhani during a meeting with Chairpersons of parliamentary committees.

According to the newspaper Tehran Times, Rouhani said: “Not all of the protesters are directed by foreign elements, many of them people who took to the streets for their (economic) problems.” Saying that the state of the Iranian economy better than the world average, it is acknowledged that this does not mean that all her problems are solved. The Iranian President said that not only economic problems lead people on street: “One of the requirements – a more open atmosphere”.

– If we all come together, I have no doubt that people will support us, – Rouhani urges countrymen to unity. – If necessary, the people take to the streets to protect our system, but this does not mean that the voice of criticism and protest will be ignored. We must listen to that voice and turn it into an opportunity. We need to see what the problem is and what is its solution.”

The President of the Islamic Republic stated that the bankrupt financial institutions (which, according to rumors, the first protests in Mashhad) is the “burden” of his government and although they did not arise during his presidency, the government is making efforts to return money to investors.

American President Donald trump, known for his fierce criticism of prisoner under his predecessor Barack Obama a “nuclear deal” with Tehran, reacted to the events: “Iran suffers defeat in every level, in spite of the horrible transaction made with him by the Obama administration. The great Iranian people suppressed for many years. They are hungry for food and freedom. Along with human rights, wealth looted Iran. TIME FOR A CHANGE!” Undoubtedly, such statements of the American President fuels the suspicions of those who sees in the Iranian events, the intervention of external forces. Anyway, in Tehran, the voices of the accusing of what is happening in Saudi Arabia, the US and the UK.

“In 2008-2009, during the re-election of Ahmadinejad were similar protests – reminds in the comment “MK” associate Professor of Russian state humanitarian University, Sergei Seregichev. – For decades, the country remains a difficult socio-economic situation, but for these bursts always need a reason. Since this time no election was most likely the Iranian opposition received money from Saudi Arabia. As Iran is disconnected from the SWIFT system, local security officials need to find the areas of distribution of cash and then the rebellion will choke before it began.

At the same time, Tehran has not yet pribegaet to violent suppression of protesters, apparently, the fear of new sanctions from the West, but if after a few weeks the opposition will not disperse and will continue to increase the pressure, the power, gonna run them over with tanks. The regime of the ayatollahs will not stand on ceremony with their opponents, if they consider them a real threat. Then the corpses fell, give birth to new people and once again begin to restore relations with Europe and the United States. The question is whether the opposition to die for “the bright future”. If they are counting on the success of a “color revolution”, they won’t work. And use they need not nationalist propaganda, and Islamist, but more radical than the one that emanates from Tehran”.

“The revolution is not money, but people, so money you can allocate all you want, but if the protests is not an appropriate social base, they would be wasted, – commented the political scientist and orientalist Andrey Serenko. – The Iranian political system seriously destabilisateur numerous conflicts between conservatives and reformists, and within these groups. In this regard, the participation of foreign agents of influence was not necessary.

In this case, the protests began not with Tehran, and regions. Young people took to the streets because of his discontent about socio-economic situation, but dared them to do conservative opponents of President Hassan Rouhani, configured to conduct a soft reform. Another thing is that they then lost control of the protest and the initiative passed to some random people like left-wing radicals of the “people’s mujahedin”, whose country does not have its own infrastructure in the form of media, offices and so on.

On the one hand, youth is pressing unemployment and high prices. And with another – the war in Syria and Iraq, which in large quantities takes their life. This is a great help to overthrow the authorities. At the time in a similar situation tsarist Russia, when squeezed between the economic crisis and the First world war, and the Soviet Union, which also experienced a downturn in the economy and the war in Afghanistan. Who will lead the protest is unknown, originally it was associated with left-wing radicals, and then there were calls to restore the regime of the Shah, it is possible that in the end the first violin will play the nationalists.

Against the rebels, the regime will use those who are now fighting in Syria and Iraq, and will call upon the assistance of the forces of “Hezbollah” to fight off their streets. At the same time, the conservatives will try to send a protest against Rouhani. If it comes down to early elections, most likely they will win Qassem Soleimani, who is one of the leaders of the Islamic revolution guards Corps (IRGC). The opposition in these elections will not stand a chance, because it has neither its own leaders nor the organizational structure. In fact, the protesters have only two perspectives: either they overthrow the regime or head of state even more reactionary regime than it is now.

In turn, the current regime will not seek to suppress the revolution as soon as possible, on the contrary, he should be allowed the protesters to release more steam. If the government will not be able to keep the situation under control, it is possible that the country may descend into civil war. On the outskirts of Iran, the militants of banned terrorist organization “Islamic state” are already trying to bet on the Sunnis”.

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