Iran Protests: Why I’m Inclined to Support Them

Over the last few days, protests have erupted right across the Iranian nation. From economic hardship to religious conflicts, there are a multiplicity of grievances being aired in Universities, on the streets and in the cities, and this morning we awoke to the news that 10 protesters had been killed overnight by government forces. President Rouhani, to give him his due, has publicly acknowledged some legitimate economic grievances and has reaffirmed his citizens’ constitutional right to protest and criticise the government. However, as his government barred access to social media networks such as Telegram and Instagram, Rouhani warned citizens against “revolutionary action” and defacing public property, with special mention reserved for those who may seek to damage mosques or other religious institutions.

Now on first glance, this appears to be a classic CIA “democracy spreading” operation, the like of which we are accustomed to seeing in the middle-east. Given the United States’ (and Israel’s) open hostility to the current Iranian regime, I’d be more surprised if it transpired that the US weren’t covertly supporting the protesters in some way or another. But, even as President Rouhani has admitted, not all of the protesters are those being supported by a foreign power.

Back in 1979, the revolution that brought the current Islamic Republic of Iran was very much an anti-American revolution. Iranian citizens turned to conservative Islam as a means of rebellion against US influence in the region, and essentially installed a regime based loosely on the principles of clerical fascism, overthrowing the Safavid Persian Empire that had reigned since 1501. So in this sense, the American and Israeli governments would certainly support a changing of the guard as it were.

And this fuelled my initial opposition to the protesters. As is sensible in this day and age, it’s become almost a natural reflex to oppose anything supported by American neocons or the Zionist brigade in Israel or The West, yet it becomes increasingly difficult to argue on the opposite side from what you actually believe. A conservative clerical regime is very difficult to rally behind, particularly when one’s British sensibility is more accustomed to a secular nation with a general rejection of fundamentalist religiosity.

There’s also the danger that the protesters will overthrow a clerical regime only to implement rampant, materialistic Americanism, which would be an absolute travesty. I can say with a clean conscience that a conservative Islamic regime is preferable to that outcome. But as with all political issues, the outcome is not guaranteed. My preferred outcome would be a new Iran, secular and free, yet an Iran which retains its identity and aversion to Zionist/American ambitions, perhaps not dissimilar from Bashar al-Assad’s Syria.

 

This is entirely possible. Iranian women simply protesting against the observance of Hijab, or young men wishing for more academic freedom in their universities, are not necessarily ready to jump into the satanic grasp of materialism. The point I’m trying to make is that rejecting a thesis is not always to embrace an antithesis, as Hegelian dialectical theory might suggest. Countries such as Putin’s Russia or Orban’s Hungary are examples of this, whereby they have chosen a third way, set apart from their Marxist past or the Western consumerist future.

However, I write this with a word of warning; it is almost certain that the Americans are supporting certain elements of the discontent, and they will stop at nothing to install a new, pro-American regime in Iran. As we’ve seen with similar flashpoints in the middle-east, the American deep state cares not for what a regime stands for, nor how it treats its people, but only whether a regime will sell America oil and stand clear of Israel’s expansionist aims. Thus we could end up with a situation in which an equally oppressive regime is installed, the only difference being that it’s pro-American.

Therefore, we must perhaps look a bit more closely before throwing our lot in with one side or another. But as the title suggests, and for the reason that it sits more comfortably with my natural sensibilities, I’m inclined to support protests that stand for secularism and peace against a conservative, clerical regime. Despite democracy’s abject failure as a means to settle political disputes, perhaps a free vote would be the only way to discern what the people of Iran genuinely wish for their country.

NB: It’s been charged by President Trump that Iran is a ‘terrorist nation’, which supports worldwide Islamic terrorism. Whatever you think of their clerical regime, this is entirely false. Iran is a Shia nation, with Shia rulers who have absolutely nothing to gain from supporting the terrorists is cahoots with Saudi Arabia’s Sunni/Salafist regime. Indeed, Iran has been supporting Assad’s fight against ISIS since the very beginning.

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