Iran, May 24, 2018 - In December, protests that erupted in the eastern city of Mashhad over unemployment, poverty and government corruption quickly turned into a nationwide protest across Iran. Although the regime brutally cracked down on the protesters, tensions continued to simmer and manifest themselves in smaller yet constant protests in other parts of the country.
Last week, the protests in Kazerun, which had begun about a few months earlier over the government’s plans to divide the city into smaller areas, turned into clashes between the government and people when security forces attacked and killed several of the protesters. As the Kazerun protests showed, the social climate across the entirety of Iran is tense, and chances that uprisings reoccur are very high.
Here are a few of the ongoing crises that might flare up in the coming weeks and months:
In mid-May, teachers across Iran protested for several days over low wages, discrimination, the imprisonment of activists and lack of quality education for children. Like every other class in Iran’s society, the teachers of Iran have been deprived of their rights by a regime that is wrought with corruption and mismanagement. Iranian teachers are well-connected and are able to quickly organize nationwide protests in short time, which makes them a serious force in Iran’s protests.
Iran’s students have also been protesting over new rules that diminish their rights and increase their tuition fees. Students were a very important part of the protests that took place earlier this year as well as the nationwide uprisings that took place in 2009. As the future generations of Iran, students are demanding their basic and proper rights to be fulfilled, something that the Iranian regime is increasingly incapable of doing.
Since the beginning of this week, Iran’s truck drivers entered a nationwide strike in protest to the increasing prices of spare parts, tires and commission. Given their low wages, truck drivers are faced with mounting difficulties in managing their livelihoods. The truck drivers’ strike quickly spread across the country and paralyzed the Iranian regime’s transportation channels. Continued strikes can lead to further protests and spiral out of the regime’s control.
Last month, a new set of restrictive measures by the regime regarding imports and border crossings triggered a strike by the merchants across Iran’s western provinces. The movement quickly gained support from people in other parts of Iran. In a similar move, the merchants of Tehran’s bazaaralso went on strike shortly after. Iran’s economy is already in a tenuous situation and is the source of many of the protests across the country. Further strikes by merchants and business owners can become the last straw that breaks the camel’s back and triggers a variety of protests by people of all walks of life.
Farmers of Iran have been protesting in different parts of the country over corruption and mismanagement of water sources and supplies. In Isfahan, protests resulted in minor clashes and took on a political twist as protesters chanted slogans such as “The enemy is right here, not in America,” and blamed officials for their constantly deteriorating life and work conditions. Other provinces such as Khuzestan and Kurdistan have seen similar protests. Agriculture is a serious component of Iran’s economy, which makes protests by farmers very significant.
Iran protests: After Kazerun, where will be the next flash point?
Clients of financial institutions
For more than a year, the clients of government-backed financial institutions in Iran have been protesting over their plundering of their wealth by the Iranian regime. The ongoing protests have quickly been spreading to different cities across the country, where people gather and demonstrate in front of banks and offices of organizations such as Vahdat and Arman. In recent months, the protests have been shifting their focus from corrupt officials to the regime in its entirety and its destructive policies.
And many more places
This is just a glimpse of the protests taking place across Iran. Every day, the Iranian regime is creating grounds for new protests to take place over its corrupt policies, destructive meddling in neighboring countries and its brutal suppression of its people’s rights. It won’t be long before another spark sets the tinderbox ablaze.
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