Anger in Iran is spreading
Protests are continuing in Iranian cities due to economic collapse and the currency’s unprecedented deterioration. Semi-official talk of a million newly unemployed people, a huge rise in commodity and food prices, and the collapse of entire economic sectors have caused great anger and street demonstrations. This new movement was fueled by a US sanctions package that is expected to be followed by tougher ones.
Tehran is facing internal challenges that have started to shake the regional ambitions it has pursued for many years. It has stifled the country economically, socially and politically in favor of regional expansionist projects, but the current situation will not allow that to continue. Some 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, while another 10 percent suffers from extreme poverty.
Tehran is trying to preempt sanctions by various internal measures, but they are only a drop in the ocean amid chants of “death to the dictator.” The regime is trying to confront growing public discontent and ongoing demonstrations the only way it knows how: Repression.
Tehran is facing internal challenges that have started to shake the regional ambitions it has pursued for many years.
There are attempts to underestimate the size of the protests, and officials are claiming that the country is not facing any security problem, and that such demonstrations are common worldwide. But it seems that the US is maintaining its pressure.
Notably, the content of the protests has broadened to include political issues related to Iran’s role in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Gaza. Demonstrators have even attacked religious symbols and shrines. It is also remarkable that former President Mohammad Khatami broke his silence and said: “The Iranians are worried. Their livelihood is in danger and they have legitimate demands. We all have to listen to them instead of suppressing them.”
- Diana Moukalled is a veteran journalist with extensive experience in both traditional and new media. She is also a columnist and freelance documentary producer. Twitter @dianamoukalled