Analysis of the Protests in Iran
Dr Sanam Vakil, Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
Chair: Dr Neil Quilliam, Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
Over the last week protests have sprung up throughout Iran, causing a robust response from the authorities – in the past three days more than 450 arrests have been made in Tehran alone.
Unlike the last major protests in 2009, those taking to the streets are not affluent Tehranis angry over disputed election results but rather working class Iranians from a diverse range of cities and rural towns throughout the whole of the country. While many of the protesters claim to be on the streets due to economic frustration the chants have now developed to encompass a political dimension. The slogans used by the demonstrators, including ‘Let go of Syria, think about us’ and ‘I give my life for Iran, not Gaza, not Lebanon’, call for the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down and raise opposition to Iran’s international policy.
What impact could the protests have on the future for President Hassan Rouhani and the more reformist stance he promised in the election last year? Will the demonstrations have a larger impact on Iran’s foreign policy? And what could this mean for the wider region?
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