Hello and welcome to the Iran Revolt Page. For this first blog entry, I’ve included a link to an article that seeks to explain where Iran is in terms of revolution right now. This will allow us to take a quick look at where Iran is currently situated politically in a region where many other countries are experiencing the “Arab Spring” before we go back and construct the history of how Iran’s politics evolved to this point today.
Notes from the Underground by Roland Elliot Brown on ForeignPolicy.com
This article attempts to explain why the revolutionary morale in Iran is so low compared with what is currently happening in many countries throughout the Middle East. Where both successful and unsuccessful revolutions have been taking place in Arab countries across the region, Iran has experienced little popular revolt since the post-election “Green Movement” in 2009. The author, Roland Elliot Brown, interviewed students and activists in Tehran to find out why they thought this was so and what possible outcomes they see for Iran in the future. Most felt that the Green Movement was largely unsuccessful do to a variety of factors including a vast secular movement that made people reluctant to risk their lives based on moral impetus from religion, the failure to directly challenge Iran’s clerical system during the revolt, and the general feeling that many people didn’t actually know what they were fighting for beyond the entirely too broad concept of “freedom.” When Brown asked one student why she felt that the revolution in Egypt ended so differently, she answered that the military was with the people in Egypt and that the situation in Iran is much more similar to that of Syria, where there would be brutal crackdowns on protestors if such a revolt was staged. She also expressed fear that the revolution in Syria could have terrible consequences for a revolution in Iran since the two governments are “chained together in so many things and they back each other up.” From the perspective of those interviewed in this article, it seems as though most Iranians are not yet pushed to the point where they are willing to risk their lives in a revolution that could possibly result in the carnage that has followed the uprisings in Syria, Bahrain, and Libya. These fears demonstrate how the Arab spring is not a blanket movement that has erupted simultaneously across the Middle East, but rather how some Arab countries are susceptible to pressure from the international community, like Tunisia and Egypt, where others are not. The article then explores the possibility of regime change in Iran without revolution, which several young Iranians expressed they thought may occur internally due to economic collapse or a disintegration of centralized power resulting from the power struggle between Ahmadinejad and Khomeini. Brown concludes that no matter what happens, the increasing paranoia and narrowing appeal of the regime has forced the issue of its own legitimacy with the people and it is thus difficult to imagine the Islamic Republic drawing enthusiastic voters to another set of regime-vetted candidates in 2013.