Street protests in Iran are about public anger with the economy but do not signal a downfall of the reformist government
Shortly after Christmas, conservative opponents of the reformist Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, organised a small demonstration in the city of Mashhad. The protests rapidly spiralled out of control, spreading across the country. No one should be surprised by this show of deep dissatisfaction and anger – a cocktail of poverty and unemployment mixes headily with the ability to be connected to the outside world thanks to satellite TV and social media.
For numerous external critics of the Islamic republic, these protests offered a glimpse at the possibility of regime change in Iran, and were gleefully received. The leader of the free world flexed his Twitter digits and obscure opposition groups raced to record YouTube messages.
The Islamic republic has transitioned from revolution to establishment, fought off Saddam Hussein and resisted intense US pressure