Iran discontent to reverberate even if protests quashed

Street protests across Iran have sent a damning message to the government, despite Iranian attempts to minimize their significance, Arab Weekly said in an editorial.

Iran has been left shaken by the public expression of discontent. The authorities have cracked down hard on protesters, despite the leadership’s claims that it tolerates rights to protest, the magazine said.

Tehran’s Revolutionary Court depicted the demonstrations as tantamount to “waging war against God”, and have threatened to introduce the death penalty. It also switched off messaging apps and VPNs that bypass restrictions on the Internet.

The authorities will need to accept that the demonstrations showed that many Iranians no longer cower before the cult of the supreme leader, even if they manage to quash the show of discontent, Arab Weekly said.

“The protests, triggered by rising food prices and economic grievances, evolved into something broader,” it said. “They have become an expression of hostility to the political power enjoyed by the clerics, as well as their policies at home and abroad.”

The public backlash was also directed at the money spent by the government backing its political and military allies across the Middle East. The resentment has been palpable, according to Arab Weekly.