Issue Brief on “Public Protests in Iran 2017-18: Rouhani’s Test or Triumph?”

The past few weeks in Iran have been rather turbulent. Thousands of protestors took to the streets to publicly demonstrate their anger and dissent over hiking food prices, unemployment and corruption in the country. The protests started on December 28, 2017 in the second-largest city of Iran by population, Mashhad which is also home to the most sacred religious site in the country. They spread rapidly like wild fire throughout the country panning over almost 72 cities, covering 29 out of 31 provinces.[1]

Rallies gained momentum through the first week of 2018 spreading to the capital Tehran, where students also actively took part in the protests against the status quo.[2]Two days into the protests, internet services in most parts of the country were suspended by the government as the social media apps such as Telegram (a local messaging service), Instagram and Twitter were deemed instrumental behind the rapid spread of the dissent among the general public. For about a week, the unrest continued during which considerable damage to public property was reported by Iranian news agencies. [3] About 3,700 people were arrested and 25 people were killed during the protests. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and other governmental law enforcement agencies had to intervene in order to restore the law and order situation to a normal. After a week of mayhem, the protests died down as the international community and the United Nations expressed their concern over the worsening situation.

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