The Iranian Protests

By Daniel Larison

Protests broke out in several cities across Iran last week:

The demonstrations began Thursday to oppose high unemployment and rising costs, including a 40 percent jump in the price of eggs. But they swiftly expanded to take on a system many protesters have said is corrupt.

“Down with the dictator!” some demonstrators chanted, as they tore down posters of the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, in central Tehran. Protesters defied police from Kermanshah in the west to the holy city of Qom in the north and Ahvaz southwest of the capital, according to footage uploaded onto social media. Many of the images could not be confirmed.

At least two protesters have been killed so far. The protests obviously show some significant discontent with the regime and economic conditions inside Iran, and frustration with both may have been made worse by unmet rising expectations. Based on initial reports, it appears that there is also some dissatisfaction with the government’s diversion of resources to foreign conflicts rather than using them at home. It remains to be seen how representative these protests are and how enduring they will be.

The key thing that U.S. politicians and policymakers need to keep in mind is that internal protests in Iran are not about us, and they are not an “opportunity” for us to exploit. The U.S. should publicly say as little as possible about the protests except to condemn the use of force against peaceful protesters, and it should not otherwise attempt to insert itself into the situation or interfere. There is not much that the U.S. could practically do in any case, and none of it would be helpful or constructive. The Trump administration in particular has no credibility with Iranians, and any expressions of support it offers are likely both unwanted by and harmful to the intended recipients. The administration cannot ban Iranians from the U.S. at the start of the year, and then suddenly pretend that it respects them and supports their aspirations at the end. It will be a serious error if the Trump administration concludes that the U.S. needs to “make up” for Obama’s handling of the Green movement protests, but after eight years of hawkish myth-making they might do exactly that. It would be far wiser and better for the U.S. and the Iranian people if our government allowed events in Iran to unfold without comment from Washington.

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Via:: American Conservative

      

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Three Days That Will Change Iran Forever

By John Allen Gay

Iran has now been rocked by three days of street protests. At the time of this writing (early Saturday afternoon here in the United States, Saturday night in Iran), it remains unclear where the protests are going and whether the regime will crack down. I’ll try to provide some insight into the dynamics and point out some things to watch, followed by a quick look at what might happen next if the regime falls, and an assessment of U.S. interests and options.

First, while the origins of the crisis are unclear, economic grievances seem to be the main driver. Egg prices in Iran have been surging and banks have been unstable. Iran’s economy has suffered from a decade of malaise, and this has hit ordinary people hard. A study earlier this month by BBC Persian found that household budgets had fallen by 15 percent over the past 10 years. Consumption of many foods has fallen, too. Ten years ago, Iranians consumed twice as much fish, 39 percent more red meat, 11 percent more bird meats, 38 percent more vegetable oil, 84 percent more sugar, 7 percent more yogurt, and 71 percent more milk than they did last year. The fall in consumption was sharper than the fall in the size of households. This is a shift away from the typical pattern in developing countries: more prosperity means more food, which means a shift toward fish, meat, and other delicious and nutritious animal products. The Hassan Rouhani administration’s new budget featured plans to boost fuel prices, including gasoline, and the administration has increasingly struggled to keep reformists on board, since the pace of social reform seems slow. Pollution is so bad that schools are often closed, especially in these colder months. Water resources are drying up. Unemployment is high.

So there are many legitimate grievances that might have brought both ordinary Iranians and more urbane, reform-minded people into the streets. Rumors have abounded as to how the protests started. One theory is that hardliners wanted to amplify dissent against the Rouhani government. Economic issues have been a traditional centerpiece of conservative critiques of Rouhani, and the protests began in Mashhad, birthplace of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and home to hardline Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda. Alamolhoda’s son-in-law Ebrahim Raisi, in addition to having been a key figure in mass executions in the late 1980s, was Rouhani’s challenger in this year’s presidential elections and is a rumored Khamenei successor. Today (Saturday) is the 9th of Dey on the Persian calendar, when hardliners commemorated demonstrations against the 2009 Green Movement. Might those have been the origin of the current protests? If so, it was an exceptionally foolish move. The demonstrations are now beyond hardline control and have become a crisis for the entire regime.

And where will the crisis go? This is quite unclear. So far there …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Twenty Years Of Us

By Rod Dreher

Today, Julie and I have been married for twenty years. Twenty years! See those two wooden scoops in the photo? They belong to a canister set someone gave us for our wedding. The scoop on the left has hefted steel-cut oats out of its canister for the past two decades. The scoop on the right, coffee beans. Almost every night, for twenty years, one of us has plunged that spoon four times into a canister full of coffee beans, to grind for our morning coffee.

The wood has wicked twenty years worth of oil from the beans. Mind you, we didn’t store the spoon in the coffee. It drew the oil from four scoops daily, for twenty years. That’s 29,200 scoops of coffee. The measure of a marriage.

We celebrated with a very old-school dinner at Ruth’s Chris steakhouse. Champagne to start, then salads (is there anything better than a wedge salad with bacon and blue cheese?) a filet mignon for her, a ribeye for me, lavishly infused with butter. Asparagus, potatoes Lyonnaise, and a grand cru Burgundy. Sinatra on the soundtrack. Cheesecake and coffee to finish. I brought home my bone for my sweet dog Roscoe.

I don’t have a lot money, but I’m a rich man.

…read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Iran’s protests are powerful and real. Why are mainstream media outlets so hesitant to report on them?

By Stephen L. Miller For all the squabbling that social media platforms are notorious for, their relevance to the media landscape plays an important role in times of protest. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Iran protests: How Trump can strike a fatal blow against a dangerous, tyrannical regime

By Ivan Sascha Sheehan President Trump should take decisive action in 2018 to support the ouster of the virulently anti-American theocracy that has ruled Iran with an iron fist and threatened its neighbors for the past four decades. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Disney World’s Trump robot target of screaming rant. Is there any place that’s safe from leftist insanity?

By Jeremy Hunt Is there any spot left in America where we can get awa from leftist hysteria? It’s getting harder and harder. Even at the home of Mickey Mouse. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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