Anti-regime unrest doesn’t mean everyone has suddenly switched sides. US officials’ simplistic view of Iran is dangerous
Protests erupted in Iran soon after the government admitted to having accidentally shot down a passenger plane killing 176 people. That disaster took place amid escalating tensions with the US over the killing of Qassem Suleimani, head of the country’s powerful Quds force. The crowds have called on their supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to step down, and security forces have responded with teargas, rubber bullets and even live ammunition. In one of the most visceral displays of anger so far, a young man climbed up a billboard depicting Suleimani. After making it to the top, he kicked the picture and eventually dragged it down.
If US hawks view the trouble as a sign their strategy is working, they will weaken those Iranians who favour compromise