Although nowhere as large as the 2009 Green Movement the recent protests across Iran already carry with them large-scale impact.
These protests do lack the level of coordination and leadership that allowed the green movement to bring out millions of Iranians, but instead, they show the want of citizens, free of political leadership to move away from Irans current political and economic state.
The Revolutionary Guard, which along with its Basij militia spearheaded a crackdown against protesters in 2009, has now responded to this unrest in a statement carried by state news media on Saturday which largely suggested that groups were aiming to reproduce those same levels of unrest.
The revolutionary guard has taken many hard-power decisions but it has also brought in about 4,000 people for the annual pro-government rally in the capital, state media reported.
Perhaps what is most important in this current story is the blurred line between the reformists and the hard-line conservatives. Both wings of Iran’s political spectrum have been internally divided over their responses to the street protests. Furthermore, as the protests have spread, their responses have also changed for interesting reasons.
Initially, many reformists called for the constitutional right to protest to be respected, but many have now moved on to question the motives behind the demonstrations.
The conservative opponents of Rouhani, on the other hand, started by supporting the protests as a just reaction to the government’s economic policies but were quick to denounce them later on. This union in opposition shows perhaps why these protests are so earth-shakingly important.
The protests do not question one single party, as they question the entire system.
Tense Build Up
Context: The protests began on December 28th, in the holy city of Mashhad, and slowly began to move across the provinces.
Anti – Government: The protests have included actions directly against the supreme leader, with citizens burning down references to the leader.
— Arta (@artamirzaei) December 30, 2017
— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) December 30, 2017
Anti – Cleric: groups have begun chanting against not just the current Supreme Leader but also the cleric based regime.
Protesters in #Iran chant: “”We don’t want a clerical regime, we don’t want it.”
From Bandarabbas city. #IranProtests #تظاهرات_سراسرى #يحدث_الان_في_ايران #متحد_شویم #IranProtest #FreeIran pic.twitter.com/oGwBLwKTbX
— Armin Navabi (@ArminNavabi) December 30, 2017
Censorship: According to a report on the Times of Israel mobile internet access has been restricted in the capital.
Violent Groups Removed: An article on recode showed that the popular app telegram had agreed with the Iranian government and shut down groups which encouraged violence against police.
Deaths Confirmed: Videos posted on social media on Saturday showed two young Iranian men had been shot dead by police. It said security forces fired on protesters in the western town of Dorud and killed at least two. Other protesters in the same video were chanting, “I will kill whoever killed my brother!”
“World Watching”: United States President Donald Trump posted on his twitter that the world was watching the actions of the Iranian government and that the people of Iran have the right to peacefully protest.
Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! #IranProtests
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2017
Governors Office Burnt Down: Protesters in Khoramabad (West Iran) put the Governer’s Office on fire on Dec 30, evening.
Protesters in Khoramabad (West Iran) put the Governer’s Office on fire on Dec 30, evening. Protests continued throughout #Iran on Sat evening. This was the day that the regime had its state-organized rally, which was an utter failure. #Iranprotests #Iranprotest pic.twitter.com/eWzZzSuDfg
— Shahin Gobadi (@gobadi) December 30, 2017
More Buildings Taken: A prison in Arak, and a local radio and TV station have been taken over by protestors.
Breaking: Iranian protestors now control the Radio/TV building and prison of the Arak town in central Iran. pic.twitter.com/QTawCi3uKj
— PM Breaking News (@PMBreakingNews) December 30, 2017