What are the reasons for recent unrest in Iran? How these protests are different from those during "Green Movement"? Discuss.

The recent unrest in Iran accounting to at least 20 deaths is seen to be the most serious internal crisis the country faced in the decade. The protest started on the backdrop of increasing prices of basic staples(like eggs) and worsening economic conditions. The protest soon turned into an open rebellion against the government and the islamic leadership.
Demonstrations broke out in the city of Mashhad- the second largest city of Iran on December 28th and they have spread to more than two dozen cities and towns. The breaking out of protests is the result of a leaked budget document which slashed the subsidies to poor and imposing higher fuel prices to compensate the country’s debt. Other reasons include,

  • The protests against the ruling government are because of the suppression of social freedom.
  • The protestors also claim that there is no political transparency.
  • The economy is stunted even though sanctions on the country are lifted.
  • The wages and unemployment conditions are worse in the country.
  • Iran’s support to Syria in the form of cash, weapons and fighters is also not welcomed by the citizens. They say that it is un-necessary to spend on some other country when Iran itself is suffering.

Similar uprising occurred in Iran in 2009 on the account of election result dispute. It is popularly known as the ‘Green Movement’. It included almost 3 million demonstrators undertaking peaceful protest. Unlike the Green Movement, current rebellion is spread to every province even traditionally conservative areas of the country. The Green Movement saw protests by the educated elite of the urban Iran. Today’s protests are dominated by the younger generations and working class people. Social media is playing a major role. As a measure to control the situation, Iranian government cut off internet all over the country. Instances of attacks on police stations by young people suggest the protests are much fiercer and determined than the earlier protests. Reforms to strengthen the political and economic conditions of Iran is the only way out of this unrest. 

Question for UPSC Mains:
What are the reasons for recent unrest in Iran? How these protests are different from those during “Green Movement”? Discuss. [Indian Express]

Published: January 3, 2018 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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