Foreign Policy Watch: India-Iran

[op-ed snap] Iran on the boil: on nationwide protests

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Iranian protests

Context

Nationwide protests broke out in Iran and pose a challenge to the Iranian regime.

Background

    • Troubles already – Iran is already struggling to fix a battered economy, hostile ties with the U.S. and waning influence in West Asia.
    • Trigger to protests – the government’s decision to raise the price of rationed fuel made thousands of people take to the streets.
    • Against the Islamic regime – The protesters chanted slogans against the Islamic regime, carried “Death to Khamenei” posters, in a direct challenge to the country’s Supreme Leader. 
    • Government response – Security personnel unleashed violence on the protesters and the government shut down the Internet. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the country’s top paramilitary force, has threatened to crack down on the demonstrations.

Iran

    • Fuel – Iran still has one of the lowest fuel prices in the world. The rise was enough for people reeling under high inflation, joblessness, and a collapsing economy to take to the streets.
    • Nuclear deal – Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the 2015 nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions has dealt a blow to Iran’s economy.
    • State of the economy – Inflation has risen to 40%. A quarter of Iran’s youth is unemployed. According to the IMF, the country’s economy is expected to contract by 9.5% this year. The currency, the rial, has plunged to record lows against the dollar.
    • State in the region – Iran’s influence in Lebanon and Iraq is being challenged by protesters. In Iraq, protesters burned an Iranian consulate. In Lebanon, protesters demand the resignation of the entire political class. 

Conclusion

    • In recent years, Iran has seen many protests and labor agitations. 
    • The regime’s response has always been to brand the protesters as counter-revolutionaries and blamed foreign hands.
    • Iran needs a lasting solution to address its revolting underbelly. It can’t violently suppress the protesters forever and needs to get the nuclear deal back on track.
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