For the Iranian regime, 2018 has been the year of demonstrations and protests. Despite the efforts at repression, the regime has been unable to curb the voice of the Iranian people. The wave of protests began at the end of 2017 and have expanded to include more than 140 cities in all the provinces of Iran.
Protests continue to grow
The protests are not short-lived, and they focus on more than just social or economic issues. Instead, they call for regime change, and highlight the corruption and mismanagement of Iran’s resources. In July, a five-day wave of anti-government protests, the largest since January, started and covered more than a dozen cities.
The social base of the protests is not limited to just one group of Iranians but is covering all areas of Iranian life. High unemployment is impacting a majority of Iranians and despite the funds being invested in the country from the international community. The demands are unified and while they may have started out political, they have quickly become political.
Human Rights key part of protests
For the average Iranian, human rights violations are a part of life in Iran. Many individuals are arrested, denied legal counsel, and then suffer physical abuse and torture. There are also calls for freedom and democracy. Women are also having their voices heard, calling for their own rights to be restored.
Religious minorities are also trying to be heard by the regime, despite the fact that they are routinely targeted by security forces.
Regime has no plan of action
The regime has no plan to address the demands of the Iranian people, and so their response has been a greater crackdown on the protesters and attempting to discourage further protests.
A protester was shot to death by the regime’s security forces in July and a number of activists have been given long prison sentences. There is also a new clamp down on religious and ethnic minorities, particularly Christians and Kurds.
Previous policies of the regime have also contributed to the economic woes of the nation. For example, a majority of the budget is focused on the regime’s military efforts and repression of the Iranian people. Corruption and embezzlement are common and have drawn comments from those inside the government, as well as protesters. International sanctions are likely to choke off the ability of the regime to continue its repressive measures.
In the meantime, Iran does not have to be another Syria. It has a democratic alternative available to provide transition for the Iranian people. The Iranian resistance has four decades of experience, a clear political platform, and grassroots support. The reality is that the international community needs to support the Iranian people as they create change by ending the rule of the regime.