Social unrest in Iran has led to the largest public movement since 2009. Protests began the night of January 4th, and have amassed in response to the rule of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Iranian economy is sputtering, its government is filled to the brim with corruption, and supplies such as food and gasoline are running low. Many Iranian citizens expected life to get better after 2015, when Iran made a deal with the P5+1 (the US, the UK, Russia, China, and France- the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council). The deal involved the shutdown of Iran’s nuclear program and was supposed to lift severe sanctions on the country. However, many promised changes never came to fruition, and new sanctions have since been made.
Despite the lack of economic development that was expected to come out of the deal, it is not the only cause for the protests. Iran has faced intense economic and political strife for years; citizens view the government as highly corrupt, and clamor for the end of inequality and the beginning of social justice for minorities such as women. Many of the protesters are young Iranians focused less on politics and more on social changes, such as unemployment and inequality.
According to CNN News, the protests in Iran have resulted in 21 deaths and 450 arrests– and the people have been in the streets for barely a week. The last major protest in Iran, the Green Movement in 2009, lasted for months. Remnants of the Green Movement still linger for many Iranians who hope for social, political, and economic change. Yet over 3,000 protesters have been detained, the Iranian government is filtering social media to prevent Iranians from gathering information on other parts of the world, and the situation is looking bleak despite support from many countries, like the US. The struggle for social justice in Iran will continue to be fought by these brave protesters.
By Rachel Smith