News from the Arab Press

Are The Mullahs Losing Power At Home?

By Asaf Zilberfarb | The Media Line

January 2, 2018

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Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, December 30

The 2009 wave of demonstrations in Iran caught the mullahs by surprise. The thousands of protesters who took to the streets across the country almost nine years ago could only be stopped by a heavy crackdown, using live ammunition. Today, the demonstrations we are witnessing in Iran are slightly different. While they are much smaller in size, they are more widespread, erupting in numerous locations throughout the country, from small towns to large cities. Here, too, the mullahs were caught off guard. They expected to gain the support of the Iranian public following great military victories in Syria and Iraq. But anger over these campaigns has become a major reason the public has taken to the streets. Iranians are simply unhappy with their leadership’s excessive waste of money on projects abroad. There are also things at home that require attention. While Tehran has become capable of projecting its power across the world, its level of civil development remains quite low. In many ways, Iran has much more in common with Libya, Yemen, and North Korea than with Western countries. This is compounded by the fact that the Revolutionary Guards reaches deep into all parts of society, monitoring people’s everyday moves and maintaining control over key industries including the energy sector. Therefore, it is only a matter of time until the Iranian people unite and attempt to topple the regime. However, I don’t think that time has come yet, as these demonstrations will not bring down President Hassan Rouhani’s government. But they are certainly the beginning of a new era, one in which the Iranian public stands up for its blatantly disregarded rights. Iran’s leadership might succeed in asserting its dominance over almost every corner of the region, yet this cannot come at the expense of losing power at home. – Abd al-Rahman al-Rashed

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