22 April,


What lies behind the protests in Iran? - EXCLUSIVE

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One of the leading countries of the Middle East - Iran turns into a place of massive protests in a day. In a day? Or it may be a result of long lasting anger. There is still a question why a simple protest in Iran’s holy city of Mashhad spread across the country. 
 
Peter M. Tase
Political commentator, journalist-analyst
 
Political commentator, journalist-analyst Peter M. Tase said that corruption, government inefficiency, brutal discrimination of ethnic minorities and a widely spread poverty are the main reasons that have triggered the December 28th protests, they are the largest rallies that have taken place in the Islamic Republic of Iran since the disputed presidential elections of 2009. Iran has a large swath of territory and the internal anti-government sentiment has always been present. 
 
Moreover, he stated that the capital punishments against local civil society leaders who demand a greater freedom to learn their native language within the education system of Iran have encouraged the ongoing massive protests inside the territory of Iran. The 21 people killed in the city of Mashhad may not be the only victims of these protests; such events may escalate in the days and weeks ahead.  In early January of 2018, there were major protests taking place in Western Hamadan province, in Nowshahr and in Gohardasht. In Noor Abad (360 km south-west of Tehran) protesters were tearing down the photos of Ayatollah Khamenei in the evening of January 3rd, 2018.  
 
The recent homegrown protests in Iran are followed very closely by the White House, President Donald J. Trump has released a series of tweets attacking the Iranian Ayatollah and his cronies; on the other hand, in the inception stage of the Syrian Civil War (in June 2013), President Obama had pursued a reluctant position and his unprecedented unwillingness to act had tarnished the geostrategic role of Washington in the region.  
 
Although the U. S. intelligence community, under the Trump administration has bolstered its logistical, financial and human assets, its role remains unclear in relation to the direct impact, and organization of the recent violent protests in many provinces of Iran.
 
The Secretary of Iran’s Guardian Council blamed “sworn enemies” of Iran saying that US, Israel supported insurgents during the unrests. Peter Tase pointed out that the interventions of Israel and United States in the organization of these protests are somewhat limited and it is very hard for both countries to exert internal pressure that could lead into turmoil and political chaos in Tehran and the region. Washington is interested to change the American Law that codifies the participation of U.S. Government in the 2015 nuclear accord; this legislative initiative will be addressed in the U.S. Congress by mid January. 
 
Furthermore the international community is aware of Iran’s interventions in proxy wars and political maneuvering in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Qatar and in Latin America. 
 
Protests vs. Iran’s interests in the Middle East
 
Political analyst said that Iran is located in a volatile region, its geostrategic role in the Middle East and in the neighboring countries will begin to diminish based on the chain of events that will continue to take place inside the country.  Ethnic diversity, totalitarian regime, violation of human rights, defiance of ethnic minorities’ rights and of basic freedoms are a valid source that encourages abrupt political changes inside Iran and reflect adversarial effects in the region.    
 
Peter Tase also added that the anti-government protests in Iran have generated a closer dialogue and coordination of actions between Moscow and Tehran.
   
According to Russian Senator and Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee of Federation Council, Konstantin Kosachev the protests in Iran are a “symptom of certain internal political processes in the country.” However the Russian Senator did not underestimate the “external influence”, but said, “I would not ascribe too much influence on the Iranian processes to Washington — right now it (Washington) is not in the right ‘condition,’ and Iran is not so open for external influence.”
 
It appears that these protests have taken the Russian Government by surprise and President Putin is taking the necessary steps to reach the right conclusions and preserve the close partnership with the ruling regime of Tehran, since the latter is the only loyal partner of Moscow. 
 
A possible regime change in Iran, will also affect the bilateral relations between Yerevan and Tehran as well as Iran’s role in the ongoing armed conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh, between Armenia and Azerbaijan. 
 
UN Security Council’s meeting on Iran protests
 
The United States Ambassador to the United Nations praised the Iranian Protesters calling them as a “powerful exhibition of brave people.”
Furthermore the representative of Russia was sternly disparaging the US for convening the UN Security Council over the ongoing protests in Iran, stating in the UN Security Council that this was an “internal affair” of Iran, at a time when 21 people have been killed during the protests. 
 
Peter Tase concluded that a series of political changes inside Iran and a constant international pressure are expected to take place during the course of this year.
 
Farid Hasanov

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