The angry popular protests in Iran are witnessing an escalation that horrified the regime of Tehran and its allies, especially after reaching a new level on both the geographical areas they have covered and the type of demands they raise, as well as the diverse segments participating in the protesters led by young people. While the spark of the protests has started in some limited Iranian provinces under economic titles related to the bitter complaints of high prices and the poor living standards in light of the rampant unemployment in the Iranian street; the more cities and provinces that joined the demonstrations of anger has hit the regime with frustration and panic. The demands rose as well and political slogans shifted on the seventh day of demonstrations to demand the departure of the Supreme Leader and the overthrow of the regime of the rule of the jurist, on which the mechanism of governance in Iran is based on since the revolution of Khomeini.
This fundamental shift in the content of the ongoing protests comes at a time the Iranian media are so keen to reassure the regime’s supporters and to remind them of the Revolutionary Guard’s ability of controlling and suppressing previous demonstrations. However, the Iranian media has forgotten that previous demonstrations had no such bold slogans as in the current week-long protests!
Back to the roots of the problem that has implicated the Iranians in the dilemma of subjugation to the rule of clerics, who accuse the protesters of treachery and dealing with foreign powers; many Iranian demonstrators and opponents are recalling the atmosphere of the revolution against the rule of the Shah in the late seventies of the last century. That revolution which was initially aimed at expressing civic aspirations for a variety of political currents led by the leftist and liberal movements. But the traditional Shiite clerics jumped on the revolution at the end by promoting and imposing Khomeini, who was in exile, with his hardline movement he managed to dominate Iran and impose an extremist regime that has led the country since 1979. The ruling of the jurist, or the Supreme Leader, has followed the strategy of distracting the Iranians and giving them the option to vote and choose between two political streams, the conservative and the reformist, where both are loyal to the guide of the revolution and committed to his orders and thoughts, the man who rule behind the closed doors, Ali Khamenei, the spiritual and political leader of Iran after the death of Khomeini in 1989.
What is new in the Iranian demonstrations this week is that peoples have turned the table for the first time on the regime and refused to continue with such false pretenses in which the two sides of the regime play a recurring role in which they share the role of the hardliner and tolerant, while both serve and obey the Supreme Leader. What made the mullahs in Tehran sound the alarm and deal with the protesters so harshly to the limit of killing many demonstrators and arresting thousands, is that the Iranians are finally screaming against the main pillars that form the iron regime that governs the country. Therefore, the rising demands of the demonstrators and the crystallization of a list of political goals to reform the ruling system and correct the course of the Iranian internal and external policy is actually an establishment of a radical revolution in Iran. Therefore, even if the current protests could not succeed in achieving this goal, they will be decisive and crucial in breaking the barrier of fear for the first time, and in raising the voice of the Iranian opposition to demand the regime change and the overthrow of all features of Wali al-Faqih regime, including its interventions in the affairs of others which are based on sectarian slogans have nothing to do with the interests of the Iranian peoples and nationalities, who are losing their wealth and the future of their children because of some extremist clerics.
As for the objective conditions for a full-scale revolution in Iran, observers believe they were there for years, but repression and tyranny have delayed it. However, the second young Iranian generation faced this difficult task after they found that they would lose their future and that they would be deprived of a decent modern life like others if they continued their silence and obedience as did the previous generations before. All the reasons for changing the clerical regime in Iran are available. And after the regime went too far in killing protesters and arresting large numbers of them, the protests have gained now legal rights as well as international support and sympathy throughout the world.
As for the regime cutting off the Internet to prevent the protesters from communicating with others, a week after the demonstrations broke out, this method has proven to be fruitless, in contrast, this has provoked more anger among young people who managed to find other means of communication to set hours and places of their protest.
At the international level, the pressure on Tehran’s regime is becoming very tight. This has proven that the Obama era was ideal for the Iranian government, through which it obtained from the United States and Europe an opportunity to negotiate its nuclear program, as well as blackmailing the West to receive billions of dollars and releasing more billions of its frozen assets, in return of the supervision and control of its nuclear program, which has been carried out from the beginning to find a blackmail card. Despite that, Tehran rebelled and renounced the agreement by moving to develop its missile program, as well as its continued interference in the affairs of the countries of the region and its support for coup militias, parties and other outlawed armed groups.
The outcome is that Iran has created a regional and international atmosphere that is not sympathetic with it. It is likely that if the protests continue and the brutal dealing continue, the regional and international climate might become an auxiliary factor to welcome the change of the Iranian regime and even pushing for the change that brings a modern government that serves the interests of the Iranians, respects its commitments and stop interfering and supporting terrorism and subversive groups in other countries.
Al Mezmaah Studies & Research Centre
4 January 2018