Trump is winning — Iranians return to the street

The writing is on the wall; the fate of the Iranian Ayatollahs is in their own hands; they are digging their own graves. The average Iranian like any average person in any country can only tolerate so much misery before somethings snaps. More often than not the reason is the standard of living. When the average person’s standard of living constantly deteriorates due to the government then the average person snaps. Once again this has happened in Iran. Once again there have been street protests. The time between the waves of protests is shortening and the frequency increasing as the situation deteriorates.

It would be natural to assume that a role of government is to help its own population. However, this is not happening in Iran. Once again thousands of Iranians returned to the streets of Tehran on Monday.  This was in response to the significant devaluation of the country’s currency, the rial, which is disrupting even small and medium businesses by driving up the cost of imports. The reason is the threat of economic sanctions to be imposed by President Trump on Iran because of its missile and nuclear program that is indicative of its bellicose intentions that also include support of terrorist organisations such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

The street protestors know this. The news agency Reuters reported that they shouted “Death to Palestine,” “Help us, not Gaza,” and “Leave Syria alone and deal with Iran.” The protesters are average Iranians concerned about their standard of living. What is a standard of living? It is the food on the table for their families. It is heating in winter. It is clothing for their children and themselves. These are basic human necessities and rights. The protestors justly called on the Iranian regime to invest in its own economy rather than interfering in other spheres throughout the Middle East.

The protesters gathered in the streets, in shopping malls and outside the parliament building where they clashed with security forces. Yes, the Iranian regime inflicted violence on its population. History in many countries has shown that this is a desperate move and will not succeed. Security forces be they soldiers or police are also citizens. They are also concerned about their standard of living, of the food on their tables and clothing on their children not to mention heating in winter. Sooner or later they also turn against the regime.

The street protestors know this. The protesters asked the security forces to join the protests instead of breaking them up. This was reported by Iran Freedom, a popular Twitter account (@4FreedominIran) dedicated to bringing freedom and democracy to Iran. On it was written: “Disciplinary forces dispatch to crackdown the protests; in return protesters chant “Disciplinary force, support us, support us,” the Tweet read. These are the first large-scale demonstrations since December 2017. Then the protests called on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to step down. Then they were violently contained by Iranian security forces.

Now the protestors are more cautious not making direct calls or accusations against the regime. However it is the regime that is to blame for their sorrows when they protest their anger with the economic situation. They cannot continue their businesses. The Iranian currency, the rial, is under very heavy pressure because of the threat of American sanctions. It has devalued from 90,000 against the dollar compared to 12 months ago when it stood at 42,890. The reason that there is a threat of American sanctions is the Iranian nuclear program. The economic situation will deteriorate even further when the sanctions are actually re-imposed some in August and some in November.

Although Tehran local governance has played down the extent of the protests there is no doubt that the writing is on the wall; the fate of the Iranian Ayatollahs is in their own hands; they are digging their own graves. The sanctions will bring the average Iranian to protest and more. Either the regime of Iranian Ayatollahs will see its demise peacefully or nor. The regime will have no option but to abolish its bellicose tendencies including its missile and nuclear programs or collapse. The average Iranian will not tolerate being the victim of the regime’s policies and actions. Using this method of sanctions Trump is winning where his victory is also the victory of and for the average Iranian. Ultimately Israel will also benefit because the Iranian missile and nuclear threat will cease and Hamas and Hezbollah will have their umbilical cord of support cut. Good luck President Trump, carry on!!!

About the Author
Dr Glen Segell is Fellow at the Ezri Center for Iran & Persian Gulf Studies, University of Haifa.
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