So, what's happening in Iran? Well, plenty of people smarter than me are writing about it. So it's easiest for me to link to their articles, but if I'd summarize my view like this: protests have receded to the universities and will not lead to change until other strata’s of society join again in the protests. Maybe they’re waiting for the next “calendar”-event, but we’d do well to read up on some articles in the mean time:
Dilip Hiro makes some interesting comparisons between today’s events and the revolution of 30 years ago. He’s very pessimistic about regime change any time soon. You should read the article yourself, but an interesting conclusion that stands out in my mind the following, Iranians inherent nationalism could get people to back the government if they can spin events to claim it’s the World vs. Iran again. Economic sanctions would help to make such a case.
However, maybe no sanctions are needed to stoke the fires of discontent as government subsidies on food and fuel are coming to an end.
Iranian nationalism is also being used by the opponents of the government whom they accuse of “Arabizing” the country and giving support to movements in Palestine, Libanon and Iraq while the Iranian people suffer. Also the ruling class is accused of siphoning money to foreign accounts in friendly Muslim nations such as Dubai and Malaysia. Sometimes the nationalism takes extreme form when it’s claimed that no Iranian could hit another Iranian, so many Basij and Revolutionary Guards are imported Arabs and Russians and even the late revolutionary leader was Indian. The following site links the recent terror attack on the nuclear physicist to Lebanese terrorists.
Whether all or some of the allegations are true or not, it’s a powerful driving force in the mind of a substantial number of government opponents.
We don’t know if the situation in Iran will get worse, if we’ll get regime change sooner or later, or if the government succeeds in trampling dissent and getting things back to normal. What I do know is that plenty of the Iranian diplomatic staff is getting nervous enough to deflect and apply for asylum. In the past weeks five have deflected, one from Norway, two in Germany, one in France and one in Britain.
I’ll leave you with two clips of what some Iranians in the Netherlands have been up to.
Weekly protest and flower giving action at Iranian Embassy in the Netherlands:
Video clip created by Dutch-Iranian girl and friends: