In 2009, Iran experienced a “Persian Spring” or Green Movement, where many reformists protested what they saw as the fraudulent election of then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The movement was characterized by support for secularization and democratization of public institutions. Members were organized, objectives were clear, and its leaders were clearly recognized. While it did not succeed, it the most highly organized protests in Iran in recent history.
The Iranian protests we are seeing now are nothing like that.
As Titrya Parsi notes in her opinion piece, the influence of Green reformists is very little to none at all.
The absence of slogans and chants invoking Green leaders such as Mousavi, Karroubi or former President Mohammad Khatami gives credence to their claims that they are not a driving force behind these protests. In fact, no major reformist figure has come out in favor of the protests, and some activists have even spoken out against them.Key operatives in the Green movement that I have spoken to both in Iran and in exile have clearly adopted a calculated distance from the demonstrators, though they express sympathy for the population’s grievances.The fact that reformists — who have been at the center of most of the large-scale protests in Iran for the past two decades — appear to be neither driving nor even particularly involved presents a new political phenomenon in Iran.
Big protests in Iran. The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism. Looks like they will not take it any longer. The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2017
It’s very common for third world countries to use the US as a bogeyman for all their problems (e.g., Venezuela). Thanks to Trump’s unrestrained tweeting, Iran has accused US leadership of “grotesque” interference because “numerous absurd tweets, [had] incited Iranians to engage in disruptive acts.”
If we want whats best for these Iranian protestors, it’s best we keep our mouth shut. Give the Iranian government no choice but to address these problems as a result of their own internal failings.