The Newsletter 53 Spring 2010

Iran: social revolt and prospects for change (part 1)

Mehdi Amineh

Iran’s regime faces a serious crisis with the outbreak of mass demonstrations following the elections of June 2009, and the death of the dissident cleric Hossein Ali Montazeri last December. Some commentators have compared the unrest in Iran with that of 1978. Indeed, the current situation is the most profound evidence of destabilisation of rule since the Islamic Revolution of 1978/9. Compared with protests in the recent past (1990s and 2000s), this revolt has engaged Iranians on a scale which transcends age, ethnic background, income level, or geographical location. Are we witnessing a repeat of the revolutionary movement of 30 years ago? In the first of two articles examining the prospects for Iran, Mehdi Amineh looks at the position of the current regime in relation to the current oppositional forces and the conditions for change.

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