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    Pro-government demonstrators march in Iran's holy city of Qom, some 130 kilometres south of Tehran, on January 3, 2018

    Unrest in Iran: 'Enemies Can Take Advantage if Internal Situation Allows It'

    © AFP 2018 / Mohammad ALI MARIZAD
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    Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said that his country’s enemies had allied to create problems within the country, as anti-government protests shook Iran for several days. More than 20 people died and hundreds were arrested. Radio Sputnik spoke with professor at Rutgers University, Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi about the issue.

    Sputnik: What are the levels of support for Rouhani for Khamenei right now? And how serious are these protests, is this a new revolution? What are the protestors demanding?

    Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi: They have been for a long time, not just during this protest in the past also, they have been demanding that their economic lives get better. Unfortunately the government does not listen and even President Rouhani has acknowledged that over the last five years the people’s incomes have declined. The problem is that the nature of the relationship between the people and the regime after this protest is going to change significantly. 

    READ MORE: It's Over: How Protests Began and Ended in Iran

    I don’t think that people are in a position to overthrow the regime. I don’t believe that the regime is in this position to completely suppress the people and send them home. I hope that nothing will happen and the reason is simple, because if you suppress the people you will still have the problem at your hand.

    Sputnik: Has either President Hassan Rouhani or Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said anything to the effect that they are going to make changes? Have they said anything other than saying that it’s the enemies provoking this from outside?

    Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi: See that is the problem. That is what I am saying that it is unfortunate that they cannot actually feel that the problem is domestic. Yes, all the enemies are outside, on the border or beyond the border trying to take advantage, but they can only take advantage if your internal situation allows that. I am saying that these are the same people that a year ago went to the election and voted unanimously, some 70 percent went to the polls for the same regime. Things have changed and unfortunately things are rapidly changing. The people’s income has come to a point; their lives have come to a point that there is no flexibility for them. 

    READ MORE: Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps: Riot of Year Failed

    I came back from Iran two months ago and I predicted this. I predicted this even two years ago, that the income gap between rich and poor, the very absolute poverty has come to a point that is intolerable. If you remember a revolution, this was a revolution to create justice; it was to create freedom, to create independence. It was to create healthy, good society, a society of law, regulations, morality and ethics.

     

    The views and opinions expressed by Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi are those of the analyst and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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