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Protests in Iran

Iranians demand—and deserve—a less oppressive regime

For now, alas, they probably won’t get one

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RediHab

Terrible reporting from The Economist. It has nothing to do with the "price of eggs". It started with a 50% increase in the cost of petrol.
There is a better summary here:
https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/12/30/All-you-nee...
1 On Tuesday, December 19, the Iranian government announced a new austerity plan.
2 The plan imposed a 50% increase in the price of fuel.
3 The government decided to cancel the monetary support of more than 34 million people.
4 Economists close to President Hassan Rouhani warned that the plan would lead to a societal explosion.
5 Hassan Rouhani snubbed the advice and decided to proceed with the austerity plan.
6 In this same austerity plan, the government decided to increase the budget for military armament.
7 Most of the military armament budget goes to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
8 The IRGC operates on foreign lands, supporting the Houthi militia in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Popular Mobilization Unit in Iraq and supporting the Assad regime in Syria.
9 The number of poverty-stricken individuals under the lifting of subsidies rose from 20 million to 54 million.
10 On Wednesday, December 27, citizens went out on a limited demonstration to demand that the government backtrack on the austerity plans.
11 The demonstration was held in the city of Mashhad, the capital of Khorasan Rizvi province, and security forces treated the protesters with excessive violence.
12 On Thursday morning, thousands of citizens decided to go out in mass demonstrations against the regime in support of the protesters.
13 Demonstrations began with economic demands such as the restoration of monetary support and the lifting of fuel subsidies.
14 University students and other middle classes joined the demonstrations.
15 Their demands have evolved into political anger related to Iran’s foreign policy.

leonmen

The real tragedy of Iran was that the secular left and liberals shed their blood to remove the Shah whilst the religious and their leaders sat on the sidelines and watched. When he had gone and France sent back Khomeini instead of slitting his throat. The Islamists then took over the revolution because they were better organized and now had a leader. In the next two years the liberals and secular left were purged and executed en masse. In many ways we see a parallel here with the Russian revolution when Lenin was sent back to Russia resulting in a takeover by the extremist Bolsheviks.
In both instances the West thought these actions would curry favour with the 'revolutionaries' and these actions would be looked upon with gratitude . Instead they created extremist states and sworn enemies of the West. Unfortunately the West has still not learnt its lesson and tries to appease the Muslim states on all occasions concerning Israel. As always this appeasement will backfire; it seems the West will never learn its lessons.

siddsa

Be wary of all places which have permanent leader with designation of Supreme Leader. It is nothing more than monarchy by another name.

Iran is better among the terrible middle east, where it has semi-democracy instead of absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia to appease the people and decide on smaller issues of bread and butter. For major issues of life, liberty, freedom of speech, foreign policy and war there is supreme leader and 'Revolutionary Guard'. However it is rightly pointed out that probably first time there have been public calls for 'Death to Khamenei', this should sound as dead ringer to the tyrant ayotallahs and their protectors that being 'pious' does not absolve them from integrity and humanity and the day of reckoning is coming for them too. Spread of social media is only going to hasten the process of bringing the resentment against tyrant to forth.

More power to the people of Iran.

sikko6

No no no. Iranians don't deserve less oppressive regime. It's Saudis who need less oppressive regime.

policy Solver in reply to leonmen

the real tragedy of Iran was not such a things. our real tragedy is that a person which is comfortably live in US and other enemies of Iran are making prescribes for us.
you and your media always make propaganda about 100 to 1000 people but never see their vote to governing system which was more than 40 million vote.
you are blind!!!
I think it is better for you that open your eyes and see the reality.
you are dictator, because you can't tolerate the other believes. you thinks the most and best way of life is your way of life.
but about stories you make. if they have enough supporter (i mean liberals and secular), they should determined the iranian governing system.
i think you are one of those terrorists (People's Mujahedin of Iran) who betrayed my country and my people in war.
I am very happy that our enemies are so d*mb. they think they can change 40 million vote by just less than 10 thousands bandit.

jhoughton1

"... the vacuum created by America’s unwillingness to exert hard power in the Middle East..."

Are you serious? We spent our children's inheritance exerting hard power in the Middle East and what do we have to show for it? Other than a few token soldiers the rest of the world stood aside and let us spend our money and spill our blood; now, you're going to complain that we finally ran out of motivation to keep going? [Place unprintable, physically-challenging suggestion here.]

Tyas Mursidi

I have to admit I know less about contemporary Iran's politics than I do about the Operation Ajax in 1953. However, the more I learn about the middle east, the elimination of Gadaffi, the oversexed Saddam's WMD, the dud-seven-year-of-futile-war to change the duly elected Bashar al Assad (a.k.a. the "dictator", or "the Assad regime"), the recent development in the Saudi vis-a-vis Lebanon, the petro-dollar fiasco due to the declining oil price, etc. etc. The more I am convinced that Kim Roosevelt is alive and well, and in fact kicking, and (quoting Gerald Celente) "If Iran's main export is BROCCOLI, instead of OIL, these things will never have happened."

GT97 in reply to leonmen

The west keep Iran down by sanctions and extreme limitations on exports to Iran. This will get harder and harder as Iran will be able to get electronics etc from the east, but being shut out of markets still hurt.

The west also happily supplied Saddam with gas to enable him to kill more Iranians during the Iran, Iraq war. Then Saddam tried to get rid of the leash.

It's not that the west doesn't learn (the gas worked as intended, the Iranian economy is hurt etc.) its that the west does such nasty things.

leonmen in reply to GT97

"The west keep Iran down by sanctions and extreme limitations on exports to Iran" Your comment.

The corrupt and fanatical mullahs keeps Iran down.
The foreign soldiers that are being given billions of dollars in weapons and aid that could have been injected into the Iranian economy or been given to help the poor, keeps Iran down.
The theocratic state where nobody can run in an election unless he is a religious Muslim, keeps Iran down.
The constant blood curdling threats against Israel and the US that frightens off foreign investors, keeps Iran down.
The inefficient state owned industries that gives jobs to political appointments rather than those with ability keeps Iran down.
The constant religious coercion where people live in constant fear from the 'morality' police keeps Iran down.

Persia had a glorious past. Its a pity that they are slipping into an Islamist fanaticism that is no better than ISIS.

popcorndaddy

The lesson from the various popular uprisings in the past decade is that the truly odious regimes that are prepared to kill any amount of people prevail. Unfortunately Iranians are stuck with such a regime.
Long term the outlook is better. As the leaders proceed enriching themselves at the expense of everyone else they gradually become ever more corrupt, isolated and soft.

Kremilek2

Indeed, current protests show the Iranian regime that repression has its limits and if the economy doesn't get better there can be consequences. So maybe we just need to wait for another prolonged recession and collapse of the oil price.

Houshu

All the wonderful peoples of the world deserve a less bad government, goes without saying. Question is, are the Iranians MORE deserving than, say, the Chinese? or the Americans? or the Palestinians who don't even have a government worthy of UN memberships?
Any preponderance evidence supporting this article's thesis?

jouris in reply to popcorndaddy

Indeed. As you say, "truly odious regimes that are prepared to kill any amount of people prevail" . . . for a while.
.
Nobody seems to be very good at identifying just when the breaking point will be reached. But it's a safe bet that it will be reached, unless the regime is willing and able to become a lot less odious. Bad news for the ayatollahs: theocracies sem to have a particularly difficult time doing that.

Canajun eh

"They (Iran) have blamed foreigners, absurdly, for the unrest ..."

Now why would they have that absurd notion???. Perhaps because of the demonization and murder of the leaders of Iraq and Libya, and the chaos that ensued. Perhaps because of the foreign fighters who swarmed into the ranks of ISIS, who in turn took advantage of that chaos. Perhaps because of the demonization of the leader of Syria and the millions that the West poured into "moderate rebels" who - surprise - turned out to be the very people who caused 911. Perhaps because of the demonization of the Iranian leadership and the Yemeni leadership and the Russian leadership and anyone else who opposes the American Empire. Perhaps because the Americans are now sitting on Syrian oilfields East of the Euphrates, have established a base there and have no intention of leaving. Perhaps because America now thinks it is its God-given right to fly over any country in the world and drop bombs by drone. Really, I have no idea why they would think anything so absurd.

I don't know how long it will take for the Mullahs in Iran to give up power. The road to democracy is rough and is built a few steps at a time. I do know, however, that democracy will never come through perpetual "humanitarian" warfare perpetuated by the West. We need to get out of the Middle East.

leonmen

If one accepts the non racist notion that the needs and desires of all races and people are the same - a reasonable living standard and the freedom from fear and of speech and a freedom to choose who will rule over you - then any doctrinaire regime without democracy is non sustainable.

This is why Islamic regimes that are designed around sharia law are non sustainable and Islamist regimes where these sharia interpretations are to the extreme simply do not exist for more than a short period.

China breaks the rule on democracy but is no longer doctrinaire - moving easily from Stalinist Communism to loosely controlled capitalism in just a few years whilst Confucianism that has such an influence, has no gods that need to be appeased, just a doctrine of respect for each other and moderation. Something that the Abrahamic religions have a big problem with.

The snarling aggressive and arrogant Islam that has taken hold of the Muslim world since the fall of the Ottoman Empire might fall or it might destroy the whole world and then fall. Certainly the path that the Islamic Republic of Iran is taking coaxed on by Russia does not leave us with much optimism, especially as cornered Pakistan has nuclear weapons to sale.

emma.finney in reply to grammaskidney.

I support neither of them

BTW, how many tanks did Germany sell to Saudi Arabia, so blind to German hypocrisy over US relations with Saudi Arabia?

All western countries have relations with Saudi Arabia. Perhaps your anti-Americanism has prevented you from noticing German & Europe's strong relations with Saudi Arabia.