Turks “Orientalist” to see U.S. as behind Iranian protests - columnist

The assumption that resistance to the repressive regime in Iran must be co-ordinated by the United States denies Iranians agency, columnist Nevşin Mengü wrote for left-liberal newspaper Birgün.

“We are all Orientalists,” she said. “We think ‘if eastern peoples rise up, there must be something behind it. There is definitely American involvement’ and we are very unjust (to think that), because humans are humans, after all.”

There were many legitimate reasons for Iranians to be angry with their government, Mengü said.

“Iranians cannot understand why they are so poor when they have such large oil and gas reserves, and they get angry,” she said. “Iranians are angry that their taxes are being spent by the regime in Syria.”

The present protests differ from the 2009 protests, which were disproportionately attended by leftists, but today’s protests are against President Hassan Rouhani’s relatively liberal government, she said.

“In 2009 the demonstrators were leftists, and so it was very easy for conservatives to paint the protestors as American-supported traitors.”

However, things were unlikely to change any time soon, Mengü said.

“Nothing will happen (as a result); autocracies are not destroyed through protests,” she said.

“But if the security services, the army, police, and etc., withdraw their support for the autocrats, they will go.”