In a Friday appearance on Fox News, an expert on Iran claimed that the deadly protests by its discontented populace against the government might not result in immediate reform, but that the “luck” of the mullahs in charge could soon run out.
Tehran has taken swift measures to quell the most serious protests since the “Green Movement” in 2009, cutting off social media and mobilizing police and military forces to address the spreading demonstrations. The tactics might not be enough to discourage current protesters, who differ from those who have demonstrated against the brutal Islamic regime in the past, according to Kenneth Katzman, a senior analyst of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Persian Gulf Affairs at the Congressional Research Service.
“[The demostrations have] morphed into basically a youth protest against the system writ large, and it all goes back to the clerics’ monopoly on power,” said Katzman, whose organization provides research and analysis to Congress.
To date, at least 21 people have been killed and more than 450 arrested in widespread protests in Iran.
In its most recent report, Human Rights Watch, which documents human rights abuses around the world, stated that executions abound in Iran, often for offenses related to drugs, and that “hard-line factions that dominate the security apparatus and judiciary… crack down on citizens for the legitimate exercise of their rights, in blatant disregard of international and domestic legal standards.”
Despite the actions of President Hassan Rouhani’s “reform” administration, such abuses persist, causing Rouhani to be targeted by many protesters along with “hard-line” clerics.
“These are simmering disputes,” said Katzman, who contends that outbreaks of protests are “going to keep happening periodically, but at some point the Islamic Republic’s luck presumably runs out.”
In a Wednesday appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Bloomberg columnist Eli Lake asserted that there could still be time for reform in Iran, despite past failures.
“There was an opportunity to try to use the diplomatic process in the Obama years to get the Iranians to treat their populations better and to respect human rights, but he ended up going for a narrow nuclear agreement that didn’t address any of those things,” Lake said.
“Now there’s an opportunity for those of us in the west to say, ‘Iran, if you want to be treated like a normal nation, if you want people to invest in your country then you need to free your jails of the lawyers, and the activists, and students you’ve been arresting for decades now.”