Protests Might Be the Harbinger of a Greater Crisis for Iran

(War on the Rocks) Afshon Ostovar and Henry Rome - Iran has experienced its most significant turmoil in a decade. The crowds have adopted chants that include taunts against the supreme leader. They have attacked statues of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the revolution, and offices affiliated with his successor, Khamenei. Numerous images and videos of Basiji paramilitary forces firing into crowds, rushing into crowds while swinging truncheons from the backs of motorcycles, and beating protesters indiscriminately have been posted to social media. The most severe anti-regime activism in terms of destruction to government buildings appears to be occurring in more blue-collar and traditionally more conservative provincial cities. In Iraq, Iran has become one of the key targets of the protest movement. Iran's massive political influence in Iraq has made it an arch villain. A recent opinion poll found that Iraqis view Iran even less favorably than they view the U.S. Iran has invested in militants who can fight wars and take territory, but they are generally poor at governance. Once security has been established, and citizens have the luxury to think about more than mere survival, suddenly things like access to electricity, employment, education, and health care begin to matter more. The protests in Iran evince the shaky ground undergirding the Islamic Republic. As the region's recent history has shown, repressing the popular desire for good governance and justice does not end that desire and could beget even further instability. Afshon Ostovar is an assistant professor at the Naval Postgraduate School and a Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Henry Rome is an Iran analyst at Eurasia Group.

2019-12-03 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive