Do protests in Iranian cities point to a social revolution?

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The year 2018 has just begun and many believe it will prove decisive year for Iran, the Middle East, and the world. Changes in Syria and Yemen are on the horizon and it is even likely that the Iranian regime is overthrown.

Towards the end of 2017, major cities of Iran witnessed angry protestors who took to the streets to protest corruption and dictatorship by chanting ‘death to dictator” and “no to Gaza, no to Lebanon”.

Spontaneous revolt

Referring to reports and video clippings posted on social networks, Reuters news agency reported: “Demonstrators chanted anti-government slogans in several cities across Iran on Friday”. For their part, Iranian news agencies and social media reports stated that protests against rising prices soon turned turned into big demonstrations, the largest of their kind since the nationwide pro-reform unrest in 2009.

The outbreak of protests reflects growing discontent over rising prices and corruption, as well as concern over the Islamic Republic’s costly involvement in regional conflicts such as those in Syria and Iraq. In Kermanshah, protestors were chanting “free political prisoners” and “either death or freedom”. People even burned a banner of Khamenei’s photos.

ALSO READ: #IranProtests.”

Heather Nauert, spokesperson for the US Department of State announced in a press statement: “We are following reports of multiple peaceful protests by Iranian citizens in cities across the country”. She added, “The United States strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters. We urge all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption.”

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These appear contrary to Obama’s policy during the social protests in 2009 when he stood on the side of the Iranian regime instead of the protesters. The current US policy shows positive signs of support and sympathy with Iranian people which is essential, albeit it is still not enough.

Iranian uprising is the national right of its people seeking to topple the regime, whose security forces have resorted to serious violations in their clampdown.

As the Iranian regime is going to be overthrown, it is essential that Europe and other countries in the region support the uprising by the Iranian people and recognize Iranian opposition movement (NCRI). Such policy will eventually cause less bloodshed and encourage people of Iran to establish freedom and democracy.

F. Mahmoudi is a Kurdish-Iranian political and human rights activist.