Prospects for Change in Iran

(Twitter) Karim Sadjadpour - We can salute the courage of the non-violent Iranian protesters and sympathize with their frustrations but still be sober about their prospects. The citizen protesters are unarmed, unorganized, and leaderless. The Iranian regime's vast coercive apparatus remains cohesive, committed, and very well-practiced in repression. They've been doing this a long time. Moreover, unlike the Shah's political and military elite, many of whom were educated abroad or had foreign passports, the Islamic Republic's elite don't have this option and will seek to stay in power by all means necessary. The regime may be able to rely on the Shia militias they've been training for years (in Syria and Iraq) and including Hizbullah. It will be easier for them to fight unarmed Iranian civilians. I find it remarkable these protests began in deeply religious and traditional cities like Mashhad and Qom, long considered to be government strongholds. The writer is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

2018-01-03 00:00:00

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