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The lessons of the Iranian revolt
Material posted: Publication date: 13-01-2018
The protests in Iran, suddenly broke out on New year's eve, and almost stopped after it gave much food for apocalyptic predictions about the beginning of a great upheaval in one of the most influential countries in the Middle East. The forecasts seem to have been unfounded. But the logic of the revolutionary events that begins as a clash inside the elite groups and turning them into uncontrollable spontaneous process, were demonstrated very clearly.

The lower house of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday adopted a resolution supporting the mass anti-presidential speeches in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This was done when the protests were clearly exhausted. In the second decade of January from Iran come only a vague message about small shares, clearly of a local nature. Demonstrative American support risking them to finish completely, and safer than batons to the Iranian police. Actually, for the short end of the troubles Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and I have to say a huge thank you to the leadership of the United States. Plus – the head of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, of course. Don't they give their sympathy to the protesters, thousands of ordinary Iranians who took to the streets to Express their outrage, I would not hurry to go home. It's one thing to rally against the authorities of his country. Another rally against the government of their country under the blessing of her enemies, such as the US and Israel certainly believes the majority of Iranians.

The President against the mullahs

Events in Iran were the result of the dual nature of the prevailing system of governance. The country has quite democratically elected governments, the President is there, on paper, are the chief Executive officer with the same powers as the President of any Western powers. But there is another power and another power vertical is spiritual, led by the Supreme leader. It seems to be not omnipotent (at least in terms of domestic policy), and therefore a dictator, comparable to, say, a Saddam Hussein or Kim Jong-UN, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to name language does not turn. However, to restrict activity or fatherly to pull up a popularly elected President, he could – especially when he climbs to where it is supposed (from the point of view of the Supreme leader or his entourage, of course). As a result, the rivalry between the two specific Iranian power verticals becomes a permanent factor in local politics. It happened at this time.

The price of lifting the sanctions

Having achieved almost complete withdrawal, as a result of nuclear deal, sanctions were laying down a heavy burden on the country's economy, Rouhani was confronted with the necessity to adapt the economy to new conditions. Iran started tough reforms to attract foreign investment and revitalize private business. The price of fuel and food have been released, government spending reduced. The budget for the new year submitted by the President to the Parliament in mid-December and, therefore, became the immediate cause of the mass protests that included the removal of subsidies on some products. And most importantly, the economic interests clashed with the interests of foreign policy, which is spiritual power traditionally considers his diocese.

Rouhani gently tried to raise the issue of too large costs on the activity of Iran abroad — in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Only the funding of the Assad regime is costing the Iranian skinny budget of 8-9 billion dollars annually. As much again is spent on the maintenance of the Islamic revolutionary guard Corps, the state within the state with private business interests and global ambitions. Coming from the President hints at the involvement of the higher clergy to dubious financial transactions, probably, was the last straw that broke the patience of his conservative opponents.

Dangerous game

As a result, in Mashhad, the Holy city of the Shiites, started the first demonstration against Rouhani. Their inspiration was not the Pro-Western opposition, and the most that neither is the ultra-conservatives. According to some, to leave people on the street called Imam Ahmad Alamolhoda, father-in-law of the rival of Rouhani's the past in the 2017 presidential elections, Ibrahim Raisi, whom the American media certainly brought to the camp of the opponents of reform and democratization. However, it soon turned out that the protest element is not the power that you long to keep under control. As soon as the number of protesters increased, and the geography of the protests spread to new cities, the target of criticism became not only Rouhani and his economic policy, but also the Supreme leader. To say that protested the Pro-Western forces, is not necessary. Their anger was expressed "Persian street" — thousands of low-income Iranians, whose aspirations are difficult to describe in terms of the struggle for freedom and democracy.

The apotheosis of the confrontation were clashes with police in the streets of Tehran. Killed several dozen people, and Iranian policy, both from Rouhani and Supreme leader, quickly realizing what was happening as he could, played ago. Here in time arrived, trump and Netanyahu with his indignation. One is tempted to guess that it happened by accident and not not thoughtlessly. No words, "the regime of the Iranian mullahs" is enemy to USA and Israel. But there isn't a to remember is that in the middle East old enemy is sometimes better than the one who is going to replace him. The example of Iraq, Libya and Syria could be very revealing.

Gennady Petrov


Tags: Iran , assessment

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