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The Iranian regime’s expiration date


Admiration. That’s the solely method we are able to have a look at the ‘scarf revolution’ in Iran.

Girls are taking to the streets en masse in 30 of Iran’s 31 provinces. They’re taking off their regime-mandated headscarves, waving them publicly and even burning them. The dimensions and depth of the protests are unprecedented, surpassing the revolts of 2009, 2017 and 2019.

  • This isn’t the primary revolution Iran has confronted — the primary query is what is going to occur if Ayatollah Khamenei dies?

The inevitable query, then, is whether or not or not the Iranian regime is faltering? But in addition, is there something the EU ought to do?

Earlier than making an attempt to reply the primary query, and to know the present protests, we have to return in time.

When ayatollah Khomeini took energy from the Shah in 1979 in the course of the Iranian Revolution, the nation was rapidly remodeled right into a strict Islamic state.

Girls have been required to stroll the streets in chador, a black garment that leaves solely the face uncovered. Listening to music was banned, as have been dancing, nail polish or make-up.

Anybody who has ever learn the biographical cartoon Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is aware of that this was very strictly enforced by the vice squad. Anybody caught with an unlawful cassette of Western music was instantly arrested.

All through the greater than 40 years for the reason that revolution, many ladies have more and more opposed the chador. Step-by-step, they began sporting headscarves with completely different colors and in such a method that their more and more seen.

One Iranian girl advised me that she obtained a remark about this from a municipal official when she needed to apply for papers together with her mom. Her mom snapped on the official that he shouldn’t have a look at the hair of unusual ladies.

The years of the presidencies of reformist Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005) and Hassan Rouhani (2013-2021) have been a time when ladies felt they might afford a bit extra freedom.

Vice police are again

Below the extra conservative presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013) and the present Ebrahim Raisi (since 2021), the vice-police and ideological Basij militiamen really feel empowered to roll again these small acquired freedoms. By drive if needed.

As an illustration, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was arrested on 16 September for sporting her scarf inappropriately. She didn’t survive her arrest.

This scarf revolution is due to this fact about ladies’s rights or human rights normally and police brutality. Furthermore, it’s a leaderless revolution that’s not pushed by a pacesetter or a gaggle, however erupted spontaneously.

This makes this rebellion similar to the Arab revolution (or Spring) of 2011.

In Tunisia, an rebellion began in December 2010 after a police officer confiscated a road vendor’s vegetable cart. When the younger man named Mohamed Bouazizi begged her to offer him again his solely possession, she punched him within the face. In desperation, Bouazizi set himself on hearth and died of his accidents two weeks later.

In Egypt, the revolution had been brewing for a yr when We Are All Khaled Stated was crushed to demise by police for posting movies of police brutality on the web.

The revolution additionally broke out in Syria in 2011 after secret police tortured youngsters for writing a revolutionary slogan on a wall.

This brings us again to the query of whether or not the Iranian regime is now faltering? Clearly, the police will not be getting the scenario underneath management. Even the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij militia are too few to maintain the offended plenty underneath management.

They usually hearth at protesters at random from their motorbikes, leading to not less than 60 deaths. Furthermore, not less than 12,000 folks have already been arrested, however even that doesn’t preserve the Iranian protesters off the streets.

Regime change?

However regardless of the chaos, mass resistance and world sympathy for the courageous protesters, I contemplate it quite unlikely that this protest will result in sudden regime change.

Right here too, we are able to draw classes from the Arab revolutions.

Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the nation on 14 January 2011, after a month of road protests. At the moment, nevertheless, it’s clear that he, and definitely his spouse, had no intention of leaving in any respect. They have been lured by their very own safety males right into a aircraft that took them to Saudi Arabia. That was the tip of his presidency.

Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak additionally had no intention of giving in to the protests. That is very clear from his speech on 10 February 2011. The truth that he was not president a day later was the results of an inside coup towards him.

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad discovered from these two episodes that concessions have been harmful for his personal survival and that he wanted to maintain a good rein on himself. In contrast to Egypt and Tunisia, he didn’t permit any protests to happen, and stifled any resistance to the hilt. His entourage knew and nonetheless is aware of that if Assad leaves, they too will fall deeply. Subsequently, ranks have been closed on the prime, even when this resulted in a protracted and really bloody civil battle. Nonetheless, Assad would by no means have survived the revolution towards him if he had not obtained full assist from Iran.

In brief, this isn’t the primary revolution Iran has confronted.

The Iranian regime has gained the political higher hand in Syria and Lebanon and has a significant stake within the politics of Iraq and Yemen.

Internally, each the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij militia are dependent and constant to Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme chief since 1989. Khamenei and his males are due to this fact doing all the things they will to pamper these loyal troops. Furthermore, a part of the inhabitants believes that this regime has a divine mandate, the place — in contrast to a dictator — you can not merely change the supreme chief.

So the primary query is what is going to occur if Ayatollah Khamenei dies?

His well being isn’t good and he’s 83 years previous. When he succeeded Ayatollah Khomeini, he initially had some issue implementing authority. One cause was that he lacked the mandatory non secular credentials. At the moment, nobody stands prepared with these credentials, nor with the mandatory authority.

In different phrases, whereas at the moment’s scarf revolution might not result in change, not to mention regime change, this Iranian regime in all probability does have an expiration date. Certainly, if at the moment’s protests make something clear, it’s that assist for the Islamic Republic of Iran has shrivelled in recent times. The day this regime ends will usher in a brand new period in Center Japanese historical past.

Nonetheless, the EU shouldn’t simply sit again and await this to occur. Because the election of president Rouhani in 2013 and the beginning of the negotiations on the nuclear take care of Iran, the EU checklist of sanctioned folks has been frozen.

It is now the time to reopen this checklist and put journey bans and asset freezes on these folks from the morality police and the Basij militia who’re answerable for the extreme repression and violence on protesters.

The European Union has the devices. It is the appropriate second to make use of them.

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