Iran Protests – November 2019

Iranian society is on the verge of another revolution. This is not only the Iranian Resistance’s analysis, but that of the regime’s own experts and analysts who confirm this truth in one way or another. 

For years, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), through its powerful and vast network across Iran, has presented the most accurate analysis of Iranian society and its critical situation.   

The MEK’s analysis was that the Iranian people do not want this regime in its entirety and are willing to have a free and democratic Iran. Yet, the Iranian regime, using brutal suppression, censorship, deception, and a hollow show of power, has been able to conceal this truth. The nationwide Iran protests in 2018 and November 2019 showed this truth to the whole word. During their uprisings, the Iranian people exposed the regime’s deception in claims of existence of so-called “moderates” within the regime and demanded entire regime change. Now, the regime’s state media and think tanks acknowledge this truth and constantly try to analyze these uprising in their media outlets and admit that the Iranian society is on the verge of a much larger uprising to overthrow this regime. Therefore, they desperately try to find a solution to this crisis. 

The state-run Jamaran website, in a lengthy article published on May 1, 2020 in this regard, clearly speaks of the regime’s critical situation and the Iranian society’s restiveness. The translation of parts of this article is as follows:  

Analysis of the social, economic, and psychological roots of the events in recent years  

By analyzing the protests in 2018 and 2019, help the system to see a wider horizon.  

 How should we look at the November incidents?  

 The gas price hike saw widespread protests, violent repression. Hundreds were killed, and thousands arrested in just a few days. These are things that happened not in Iraq and Libya, but in our own country, Iran. Both those who killed and those who were killed were our compatriots, and the consequences of these events are only for us. How should these developments be seen? 

The events of November 2019 were viewed from different angles. From a sociological point of view, this was due to public distrust of policymakers, disregard for public opinion, exclusion of social groups from participation in the decision-making process and weakening of social capital. 

 From the point of view of economists, this was a  result of the huge rift between social classes, inequality in the society, and the intensification of this gap in recent years that has resulted in an unbearable economic pressure on people’s lives, and the weakening of the middle class. 

 From the perspective of political science, it was seen as a result of authoritarian and mandatory policies, the lack of an institutional platform for protest, the lack of partisan culture and party activities in the country, and the non-institutionalization of civil society in Iran. All these meticulous, scientific, and credible analyzes can be summed up in this simple narrative that these developments were the true reasons for these protests. 

 An intrinsic, natural, and civic protest that stems from the anger, criticism, and frustration of young people and adolescents in this land. The protest has its roots in the economic, social, political, and psychological developments of the last two decades. 

 The situation in the country in the last two decades is a sign of continuous inflation (40 years of an unprecedented and unique  double-digit inflation in the world.), deep recession (the most serious recession in the country’s history in the last century), social class difference, weakening national identity, seeing no future for the country, lack of vision for resolving issues, various cultural and social constraints imposed on youth and suppressing many of their needs, eliminating the will of young people and dealing with them in an authoritative, advisory and one-sided manner, lack of safe space for legal political activity, no room to criticize the rulers and lack of a healthy and impartial democracy. 

 These conditions have pushed youth, who have many means of communication and information, and thus can see different possibilities of life compared to the current context of their lives, to the brink of an explosion. An explosion of knowing and not saying, wanting and not having. A scream and explosion from the young generation that had destructive [anti regime] slogans. 

A large part of the Iranian population has for years been feeling insecure and fearful about their present and future; insecurity caused by the threat of war, economic fluctuations, political instability, corruption, and hasty and irrational decisions. Even today, they are in a state of diminished fear of the present and the future, and the situation is so hard that they are even afraid of “expressing their fears.” 

Long-term grief has become devastating in much of our society. Also, the rage of successive years has turned into hatred. Just one spark is enough to cause an emotional outbreak of social violence. Regardless of its origins, this spark could be a rise in gasoline prices, or a plane crash, or anything else. 

 The November 2019 protests were not the first post-revolutionary movement, but they were the most important. They were important, because they echoed the loud voice of the [regime’s] most important social bases, the poor, shattering to pieces. If in the 1998 and 2009 protests, the government’s social bases between the urban and social middle class were destroyed, and in the 2018 protests the government’s social base among the traditional middle class, the guilds, and the bazaars, was weakened, in the November 2019 protests the lower classes and the poor, which was the social base of the government, was suppressed and its mental and emotional connection with the political system collapsed. 

The whole government was on one side and the society on the other. The confrontation between the government and the society will only be manifested through the valve of repression, and of course, it will become more intense day by day. But how long will the repression continue? 

The days of protest were limited and passed quickly, but the society and the intellectuals were shocked and shivered. For all the years since the revolution, there has been no protest of this scale, so fast, so violent, and with such a low age structure. 

Hopefully, the rulers were also afraid. If not, they will portray a sad picture for themselves and society. The image of a society without any hope or dream, which will ignite every spark of repeated, short-lived, and violent protests. Developments that will bring insecurity and repression to the social and political space of Iran. 

If the ruling force accepts to open a new horizon, then it must wait for a new radical behavior by the people to be formed. And this will be followed by extremist reactions from government-affiliated institutions and then entering a cycle of revolt and repression, then violence and destruction, and finally revolution or coup d’état or foreign intervention.