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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Are the Protests in Iran Waning?

Filed under: Iran

Are the Protests in Iran Waning?
Cartoon from the Saudi al-Marsd news agency.

The Iranian regime has shown that it does not shy away from firing at protesters and that it is prepared to take dramatic and brutal measures. The Iranian regime has resorted to shutting down the Internet, indiscriminately shooting protestors, holding dead bodies for ransom, and arresting journalists and their families to contain the protests as quickly as possible.

The Supreme Leader’s Twitter comments to the Basij militia in Iran.
The Supreme Leader’s Twitter comments to the Basij militia in Iran.

The regime killed hundreds of Iranians since the protests began and injured about 7,000. More than 10,000 were arrested, and arrests are still ongoing. Along with killing protesters and demanding huge sums from families to recover their bodies, security forces have stepped up their efforts to arrest journalists inside and outside Iran. According to testimonies from expatriate journalists, intelligence agencies inside Iran have tortured their parents for hours and days, urging the parents to call their children abroad and demand that they terminate their reporting immediately.

Photos of some of those killed by the Iranian regime.
Photos of some of those killed by the Iranian regime. (Courtesy: Amnesty International)

During the recent wave of protests, Iran demonstrated an extraordinary ability to disconnect the country from the worldwide web, and this option appeared to have been prepared in advance of the latest wave of protests. Iran recently blocked Wikipedia within the country. The decision was probably made after Wikipedia launched pages covering the recent riots in Iran. Internet experts have stressed that access to the Internet in Iran will no longer return to its previous state.  

The drop in oil exports from 2 million barrels per day to 200,000-300,000 barrels will have a decisive and lasting impact on the Iranian economy, which continues to depend entirely on oil revenues. As a result, the regime – tainted by corruption – has difficulty paying the salaries of civil servants or paying pensions. The rise in fuel prices means that basic commodities in Iran will become even more expensive, and Iranians are already unable to afford everyday necessities.

Even if the regime succeeds in suppressing the latest wave of protests, it is likely to break out again. While the regime does show determination and sophistication in suppressing this wave of protests, given the terrible economic situation and no government reform in sight, new waves of protest are only a matter of time.