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Speaking of Iran

A second revolution in Iran? Not yet.

December 31, 2017
2 min read
A second revolution in Iran? Not yet.

On Thursday, Dec. 28, a group of people gathered in the city of Mashhad and demonstrated against the Iranian government’s economic policies. This demonstration happened in a city that is holy for 250 million Shiite Muslims around the world; it is where Reza, the 8th Shiite imam, or saint, is buried. Imam Reza’s shrine is also a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate that owns a number of industries, banks, hospitals and, of course, seminaries across Iran. The conglomerate runs under the supervision of the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The presence of the Imam Reza conglomerate makes Mashhad the third-most-important city in Iran, after the capital Tehran and the city of Qom, where most Iranian grand ayatollahs live. Different security and intelligence services, including Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence, as well as the Revolutionary Guard Intelligence Unit and the police, keep a close eye on Mashhad to make sure it is safe for the millions of pilgrims from across Iran and up to 2.5 million Shiites from other countries who visit the city every year.

The symbolism of Thursday’s protests was therefore not lost on millions of Iranians in other cities who suffer from the same economic distress. If the people of Mashhad with all their constraints could do it, people in Rasht, Kermanshah, Isfahan, Sari and many other cities could take to the streets as well. Interestingly, unlike the 2009 Green Movement, which started in the capital, the recent protests were mostly in the provinces.

Many protesters chanted against recent developments that have served to only add insult to their injuries – both in terms of the government’s domestic policies and its dreams of hegemony in the region.

Despite people’s passion and energy, no one knows what is happening in Iran. Analysts are confused and mostly silent. And the people on the streets are not supporting any individual or group; they have chanted slogans against Rouhani and Khamenei, but unlike in 2009, there are no leaders to guide them.

This post comes from my latest piece in the Washington Post - click here to read the full article.


December 31, 2017

As much as I admire the courage and desire of the provincial Iranian, to go on the street and stage a protest against the injustices and stubborn regime, I feel these protests will be hijacked by those with an insincere agenda.

There is already talk the US is working with those 'inside Iran' for an a lternative democratic government. However, the Iranians will never allow this to happen.

I fear these protest will lead to violence and bloodshed.
... read more


Iran Officials Blame Each Other and Foreigners for Protests

December 30, 2017
Arash Azizi
6 min read
Iran Officials Blame Each Other and Foreigners for Protests