Op-Ed: Iran has a long history of protests. This time it’s different.
Iran’s recent protests, which began with little change from the regime’s policies, have shaken the government. It was never more evident than last week, when the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, called Iranian citizens to defy the regime and take to the streets, in the hope of inspiring an uprising that would bring down the despot. In other words, with Khamenei’s call and the regime’s heavy crackdown, the regime has moved a few steps closer towards a possible coup.
In previous decades, protests have often been met not only with threats, but also imprisonment. At least 4,000 people are believed to have died in prison protests since the 1979 revolution. In the 1970s, the regime used a combination of fear and violence in its struggle against leftist and trade union activity.
But there is a more common thread in today’s protests. There is the question of Iran’s relationship with the West and specifically the nuclear deal. The nuclear deal – which was negotiated by the US, UK, France and China – called on the West to suspend nuclear enrichment in return for lifting sanctions against Iran.
The nuclear deal, which began to take effect a year ago and is now fully implemented, was meant to usher in a diplomatic thaw for Iran.
But, now, the regime has shown that it wants to reverse the nuclear deal, and is using the nuclear deal as a “Trojan horse” to achieve the exact opposite of what it was promised. That, of course, would be to stop Iran from producing atomic weapons. With the nuclear deal in place, the US and international community is not only pressuring Iran to end enrichment; they are also trying to pressure Iran to cease further enrichment.
With the nuclear deal in place, the US and international community is not only pressuring Iran to end enrichment; they are also trying to pressure Iran to cease further enrichment.