Home>Posts>Politics>The Iran Protests: What’s Going On – By Eisa Ali

The Iran Protests: What’s Going On – By Eisa Ali

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01-January-2018

The protests in Iran are multifaceted, some with legitimate concerns and others are backed by terror groups. One thing is for sure: nothing will happen and opposition online commentators are getting excited for nothing.

The protests in Iran are multifaceted, some with legitimate concerns and others are backed by terror groups. One thing is for sure: nothing will happen and opposition online commentators are getting excited for nothing.

By Eisa Ali

The Iranian protests are by and large centred around economic hardships, many linked to President Rouhani’s pursuit of neo-liberal economic policies.

Cuts to subsidies can kill in countries where money is already tight. The West have essentially reneged on the Iran deal since Trump came along and illegal Western Sanctions have long been destructive. The first and foremost responsibility of people in the West (progressive or not) is to pressure their own regimes to end the sanctions which have killed untold amounts of people. A friend’s father died in no small part because he couldn’t get cancer medicines. All of this is a combustible mix which has meant poor people have suffered the most. (Note the protests haven’t spread to the North Tehran elites who drove the 2009 protests – yet – as their interests are for the status quo to continue). The protests started in Mashhad and were aimed at Rouhani only, but are being taken on by many groups with different agendas.

Many anti Iranian commenters online are getting excited by the slogans that some of the protesters are chanting against the govt and its leader Ayatollah Khamenei. These are the other, more organised part of these protests, coming from CIA backed orgs like the MEK terror group, which is using its network inside the country to foment unrest.

There are also slogans against Iranian policies abroad. Much of this is plays on racism against ‘lesser Arabs’ yes, but also on the ignorance of some Iranians of how the world works. Iran’s policies in Iraq and Syria and elsewhere provide them with a strategic depth that ensures what happened during the 8-year war Saddam waged against them isn’t repeated. If the Syrian government had fallen, Iran sooner or later would’ve been fighting Salafi Jihadists either at home or far closer than they would’ve wished. It’s not an accident. Israel, Saudi Arabia and the USA are desperate to somehow push back Iran from the wider region. Maybe they think these protests will work, it’s highly unlikely.

In any case there is almost zero threat to the Iranian govt here. Yes things can escalate and there are agent provocateurs from the usual suspects (CIA, Saudi, Mossad) actively trying to provoke it. But here’s why I think it’ll fail.

– The govt know that if they really want to they can bring millions of supporters out to protest on the street at the drop of a hat. They’ll wait and see how things develop before calling for the big protests.

– Unlike in 2009 there’s no faction within the establishment itself which is willing to back the protests.

– As always the Iranian opposition is too divided. You have MEK, small nostalgia driven monarchists, those who want reform not revolution, those who support the conservative but are against Rouhani, those who just wanna let off steam and smash some stuff up, communists, anti govt religious groups etc. They see eye to eye on almost nothing and lack a charismatic leader or the numbers of supporters really needed to achieve the fanciful goal of overthrowing the govt.

I could be wrong (lol as if) but if the Iranian revolution doesn’t celebrate its 40th anniversary in February 2019 I’ll eat my hat.

https://www.facebook.com/eisa.ali/posts/10159680420410621

Eisa Ali is a British-Iraqi and works for RT. He has given permission to post his commentary on the World Shia Forum.

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