So far the protests have left at least 22 dead. Conspiracy Talk News archived photo

IRAN (Conspiracy Talk News) – The anti-government protests in Iran, which have already left at least 22 dead in six days, have surprised many both in Iran and abroad.

They are the biggest protests in the Islamic Republic since the controversial presidential elections of 2009. But they do not have the same protagonists and their objectives are also different.

  • 4 questions to understand what happens in Iran, where six days of protests have already left at least 22 dead

“In Iran, as in many countries, there are two clear political tendencies: conservatives and reformers, and historically those who took to the streets to protest were the reformist sympathisers,” explains the editor of the BBC Persian service, Ebrahim Khalili.

“But now both the conservatives and the reformers are confused, ” he tells BBC Mundo.

Indeed, the current slogans include both shouting against the highest figure of the conservative side, Ayatollah Khamenei, and against President Hassan Rouhani, a reformer.

But also the demonstrations have not been concentrated in large cities, as in the past, but have spread to at least 160 cities and towns across the country , says Khalili.

And this time the main protagonist has also been youth and not the middle class , which partly explains its relatively small size, as well as violence.

Slogans against all

The place of origin of the protests, the city of Mashhad , has also raised some eyebrows.

As home to one of the main sanctuaries of Shiism, Iran’s second largest city is a fairly conservative place.

And many in the country accuse cleric Ahmad Alamolhoda – very close to Jamen – of having rolled the ball by encouraging his supporters to protest against Rouhani, his political rival.

But also the demonstrations have not been concentrated in large cities, as in the past, but have spread to at least 160 cities and towns across the country , says Khalili.

And this time the main protagonist has also been youth and not the middle class , which partly explains its relatively small size, as well as violence.

Slogans against all

The place of origin of the protests, the city of Mashhad , has also raised some eyebrows.

As home to one of the main sanctuaries of Shiism, Iran’s second largest city is a fairly conservative place.

And many in the country accuse cleric Ahmad Alamolhoda – very close to Jamen and i – of having rolled the ball by encouraging his supporters to protest against Rouhani, his political rival.

“They are the result of hearing their parents say that they lived better with the sha and things like that,” he tells CTN News.

“But the feeling is not exactly new, the novelty is that it is being shouted in public, ” he explains.

An explosive cocktail

The Iranian authorities have blamed the situation on “the enemies of Iran” and Khalili does not rule out that some foreign intelligence services are adding fuel to the fire.

But, in his opinion, the main reasons for the protests must be found in Iran itself: in the bad economic situation and corruption in the government .

“They are the result of hearing their parents say that they lived better with the sha and things like that,” he tells BBC Mundo.

“But the feeling is not exactly new, the novelty is that it is being shouted in public, ” he explains.

An explosive cocktail

The Iranian authorities have blamed the situation on “the enemies of Iran” and Khalili does not rule out that some foreign intelligence services are adding fuel to the fire.

But, in his opinion, the main reasons for the protests must be found in Iran itself: in the bad economic situation and corruption in the government .

“Rouhani wanted people to know that he faces restrictions and limitations,” Khalili explains.

“In fact he even said that he was glad that people were criticising the budget and that what was hidden now was transparent, ” he adds.

Unpredictable

What the president does not seem to have anticipated, however, is that all this, together with a recent 40% increase in the price of eggs, was to trigger riots that have left hundreds arrested and at least 22 dead.

And, as Rana Rahimpour, also from BBC Persia, points out, the fact that a wave of mobilisation was born from below makes it much more unpredictable than other protests.

“There is no clear leader and feeds the rage that causes inflation, unemployment and corruption of the political elite ,” says Rahimpour.

And although according to Rouhani the protesters are a minority, the situation clearly is gaining momentum.

Despite the restrictions imposed on social networks that protesters use to organize, they continue to take to the streets and tensions are increasing.

“Several analysts argue that four decades of bad management have fueled the Iranians ‘ desire for change, ” explains Rahimpour.

And according to the Stratfor intelligence company, the fact that many protesters are claiming Iranian support for organizations abroad and asking for changes in their foreign policy shows that this too could have consequences internally.

While for Khalili, the big question now is whether the authorities will be able to listen to the demands of the population and respond to them.

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