Iranians Shatter a New York Times Myth

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Iranians Shatter a New York Times Myth

Post by Didge on Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:16 pm

The people haven't closed ranks behind the regime.
So much for the New York Times theory that, thanks to Trumpian and Saudi bellicosity, the Iranian people have closed ranks behind their rulers. In November, the paper’s Tehran bureau chief, Thomas Erdbrink, devoted an extended feature to making this case, and it proved wildly popular with the pro-nuclear deal crowd in Washington.

“After years of cynicism, sneering or simply tuning out all things political,” wroteErdbrink, “Iran’s urban middle classes have been swept up in a wave of nationalist fervor.” He went on: “Mr. Trump and the Saudis have helped the government achieve what years of repression could never accomplish: widespread public support for the hard-line view that the United States and Riyadh cannot be trusted.”


Erdbrink’s argument echoed rhetoric from Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Responding to October’s announcement of new U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Zarif tweeted: “Today, Iranians–boys, girls, men, women–are ALL IRGC.”


Or not.


This week, tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets to register their anger, not at Donald Trump or the House of Saud, but at the mullahs and their security apparatus. It was economic grievances that initially ignited the protests in the northeastern city of Mashhad. But soon the uprising grew and spread to at least 18 cities nationwide. And the slogans shifted from joblessness and corruption to opposition to the Islamic Republic in toto. These included:

“Death to [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei!”
“Death to Hezbollah!”
“Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, Our Life Only for Iran!”
“We Will Die to Get Our Iran Back!”
“Clerics Out of Our Country!”


The outcome of the protests is hard to predict. So far, the movement is leaderless and appears to lack serious organization. The protesters face a regime that spends much of its energy and resources on ensuring its own survival and won’t hesitate to crack down viciously, as it did in 1999 and 2009. But whatever comes next, Iranians have already shattered one liberal myth: namely, that Donald Trump has revived the regime’s popularity at home.



https://www.commentarymagazine.com/foreign-policy/middle-east/iran/iranians-shatter-an-obamaian-myth/


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