Sunday, December 31, 2017

News from Iran

For many left thinking American commentators the most important aspect of the demonstrations in Iran is not the revolt against Islamist tyranny. Not at all. Since everyone is comparing the Trump reaction with the Obama reaction to the 2009 rebellion, serious commentators are spinning as fast as they can. 

Their goal: to salvage the reputation of one Barack Hussein Obama. Obamphile apologists recommend that Trump say nothing in support of the demonstrators because Obama said nothing about the protests that took place on his watch. They are saying that Trump has aggravated the problem with his ban on Iranian immigrants. Some are even bemoaning the fact that Hillary Clinton is not the president. Considering how well the then Secretary of State did with the Green Revolution in 2009, Bret Stephens wishes she were president now.

It is not very easy to collect the facts on the ground, but we do better to keep an eye on reality before jumping to conclusions. The Wall Street Journal reported this morning:

Antigovernment demonstrations broke out for a third day across Iran on Saturday, extending some of the country’s most widespread street protests in nearly a decade, with protesters demanding an end to the Islamic Republic regime and the rule of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Video shot from inside Iran and shared with The Wall Street Journal suggest large rallies at dozens of cities across the country.

The protesters seen in those videos bypassed calls for reform and branded both the reformist and hard-line factions of the government as outdated and needing to be replaced.

Working class and labor unions joined the middle class and student activists in dozens of cities and small towns from Tehran to Ahvaz and Qom, a key regime’s religious stronghold. In the videos shared with the Journal, protesters were seen chanting “Death to Khamenei,” and “We don’t want the Islamic Republic, we don’t want it” and “Reformist and hard-liners, you are both done.”

And it added:

The protests present a challenge for Iran’s leadership. The presence of working-class protesters that traditionally comprise the Islamic Republic’s power base makes it harder for Mr. Rouhani’s government to dismiss the uprising as opposition instigated by foreign powers.

In the capital, at one point more than 100 people were seen gathered outside the gates of Tehran University and chanting slogans including, “Leave Gaza, leave Lebanon, my life for Iran,” a critique of spending on Iranian proxies abroad, and “Death to the dictator!” Video distributed on social media showed hundreds of young people at the university shouting slogans against Mr. Khamenei, as security forces stood by.

We will follow developments as they unfold.


trigger warning said...

NYE Nostalgia:

Was it but a year ago that CNN Travel was hawking skiing vacays in Iran?

Yes, twas.

Sam L. said...

Heaven forfend that Trump should diss what Obama did, by doing something different, like, say, supporting the people and not the government.