The Duran’s Alexander Mercouris published a thorough analysis detailing the protests in Iran. Centered in Mashhad, but with sporadic activity apparently extending to other locales, these protests appear to be in reaction to two factors.
The first factor is the anniversary of the December 30, 2009 “Green Revolution”, which also started in Mashhad, This is a yearly event, as Mashhad is the home town to the opposition leader Hossein-Ali Mousavi, who campaigned against then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009. This commemoration is part of the political movement now called the Green Path of Hope, and is internal to Iran’s own affairs.
The second factor is economic. As Mr. Mercouris detailed, Iran has suffered several shortages and price shocks in recent months, most recently including eggs and poultry, allegedly due to a massive culling of poultry flocks due to an epidemic of bird flu. The prices for these items has reportedly surged by 40 percent. Additionally, although Iran enjoys a high quality of life overall, various economic problems still have the country with an unemployment rate of 12%, which is notably high.
Further information is noticeably sparse, but Iran’s ally, Russia has considered the matter to be internal to the Iranian people and government and has taken a stance of non-interference in the matter, according to a TASS report.
The action, or more correctly, inaction taken by Russia contrasts with the political hyperbole on this issue that is currently unfolding in the United States.
CNN’s present report on this matter highlights that protesters are “angry over stagnant economy, corruption.” Fox says in one of its reports that US President Donald Trump tweeted it is “time for a change“, and blasted former President Obama’s nuclear deal struck with this nation. A second report on Fox details an allegedly leaked report that details how a panicked Iranian regime was trying to figure out how to stop the deadly protests.
The apparent fact is that the protests have turned deadly, with 20 people now reported killed. The protests have entered their sixth consecutive day.
The rest of this story remains rather unclear. First of all, the ability to get accurate information is always a challenge in a situation as full of turmoil as this one appears to be. But secondly, the biases of Western media, and even those of media that ally with Iran, such as Russian and Iranian sources themselves, are locked in an argument against one another. As in most arguments, an initial stage consists of increasing division as to interpretation of the issue, rather than honest observation and analysis.
The most difficult factor in all of this unfortunately appears to come from Washington, because the US is still, very publicly, devoted to a foreign policy strategy that is essentially hegemony, and so the United States leaders pledges of support for the protesters, such as Vice President Mike Pence’s statement “We will not let them down”, has other motives than the actual well-being of the Iranian people. The stances taken by the US government in the past suggest an imposition of values and morals that are utterly foreign to the Iranian people and their own religious and cultural traditions.
Further, because of this and the history of US foreign policy in the Middle East, Iranians are often very skeptical, even unwelcoming, of any US support.
Iranians understand that the US is not interested in any long-term development projects for Iran or even in “empowering any political opposition on the ground,” [Istanbul professor Ahmed] Al-Burai said. Instead, Washington is pursuing its own interests as well as those of its regional allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel, which means that any US move would eventually be harmful for the Islamic Republic.
Al-Burai’s words were echoed by Seyed Mostafa Khoshcheshm, a political analyst who told RT that “what they [the US] are looking for is delegitimizing the Iranian policies, the Iranian establishment as well as [its] military build-up in the region, including presence in Syria and Iraq… in order to impose further sanctions on [Tehran].”All of the statements that Washington is making supposedly in support of the protesters are, in fact, aimed at “politicizing unrest” in Iran and “delegitimizing the Iranian policies on the international scene in favor of the US,”he added.
Iran is a great mystery to many Americans. The overall impression of this country could probably be summed up in the words “repressive Islamist”, but this appears to be far from true when one actually makes contact with Iranian people. Iran is highly advanced technologically, and aside from the aforementioned economic difficulties, has a good standard of living. While this does not clear up the nature of the volatility of the people, to demonstrate in any way that is violent, it casts questions on the situation.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.