Iran has seen weeks of anti-government protests which began following the death of Mahsa Amini in mid-September, days after her arrest for allegedly not complying with the country’s strict rules on head coverings. Anoush Ehteshami教授, the Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah Chair in 国际 Relations, in 世界杯线上买球’s School of Government and 国际 Affairs, 分析当前的抗议浪潮.
Q: Are the protests we’ve witnessed in recent weeks different to past demonstrations against Iran’s government?
A: We're seeing a qualitative change in the protests that can be defined in terms of their size, magnitude and geographical diversity that is now encompassing 80 plus cities and goes beyond urban centres into rural areas, which were always assumed to be the natural base of the regime.
The profile of the demonstrations is also changing and you’ve now got not just young people, who've been at the forefront of protests for some time, but primary and secondary school children protesting in school.
女性也站在了最前沿, which is very significant given that it was the death of a young Kurdish woman that set off this latest round of protests.
Demonstrations are also spreading across Iran's different ethnic communities, 库尔德人, 它的阿拉伯人口, in Sistan and Baluchestan where there are people of Pakistani or South Asian origin, 在逊尼派穆斯林中, 这很重要, not the Shia faith which is Iran’s main denomination of Islam.
The demonstrations are now much more daring and do not seem to be held by threat or even use of violence against them.
Q: Are we seeing a profound social and political shift in attitude towards the Islamic Republic and its legitimacy?
A: 1979年伊朗革命爆发时, about a quarter of Iran's population was under 35 out of about 35 million people. Now about 65 per cent of the population of 85 million is under 35.
Virtually all of the demonstrators now have only known one political system, 哪个是伊斯兰共和国, and that has very serious issues regarding legitimacy. How can the regime claim to be legitimate when its own children are now negating it and are protesting against it?
和过去的抗议一样, 现在是示威活动, there is this long pattern of clamour for openness, democracy and liberty irrespective of the regime type, 政治秩序或代际变化. And that struggle is continuing to this day against the revolutionary state itself.
You could also argue that this is different because now the slogans are much more confrontational. 他们目前还没有讨论替代方案. 但他们谈论的是自由, 作为一个女人可以自由选择穿什么, 关于言论自由和结社自由, 关于结束警察控制, and the lifting of cultural restrictions and this is new.
This is significant because it does then raise questions about the legitimacy of the regime that claims to be God's polity on Earth.
也, 在没有领导或先锋政党的情况下, it is in a sense ‘cry freedom’ by citizens who have given up on the regime providing for their economic well-being, 为了进入世界其他地方, 因为机会被剥夺了.
Q: Iran is affected by international financial sanctions. 这在世界杯线上买球所看到的事情中起了什么作用?
A: 通货膨胀率超过50%, 货币已经崩溃, so anything that comes from overseas has got a massive inflationary price tag attached to it, sanctions deprive the country of things that most of us take for granted.
这是一边, that there is impoverishment of the middle classes who are leading these challenges. This is balanced against absence of hope that the regime is usurping what remains of resources and that there is no opportunity for jobs, 为改善, 不只是对我, 而是为了我的子子孙孙.
另一方面是政治危机, that the society doesn't see their political masters responding or being able to respond to their legitimate needs and requirements – to serve the country and to serve the people
Q: How, ultimately, do you see the situation in Iran being resolved?
A: The population needs to be assured that their political leaders are on their side and not against them.
The political leaders need to show a degree of goodwill and they can start by not shooting to kill demonstrators. They can start by accepting and tolerating and recognising people's lack of access, 缺乏工作和机会. Then further they can begin to formulate a response that says we recognise your fear and concerns, we hear you and this is how we're going to deal with it.
Whether those amongst the politicians who are preaching compromise and dialogue will get the upper hand remains an open question. Ultimately the regime may manage to put down this cycle of violence.
But what we're seeing is that these protests are now much more frequent. The last time was 2009, then 2019, this time it's 2022. What that tells you is that the cycle of protests is getting shorter, 这意味着危机正在加深.
The message is clear that until the leaders get the country out of this hole, 他们将无法平息抗议.
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