Magazine February 5, 2018, Issue

Masses vs. Mullahs

Protesters in Tehran, December 30, 2017 (Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Iran’s rulers are losing their last group of supporters

The chants echoing across Iran in the past month must have unsettled Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani. “Death to Khamenei!” “Death to Rouhani!” “We will die to get our Iran back!” These were not demonstrations in the fashionable neighborhoods of Tehran but a revolt of the provinces. Iran’s aging rulers must have recalled that their own rebellion in 1978 had begun in those very provinces and only later migrated to Tehran. This was not the usual agitation of the intelligentsia and university students for more freedom, but workers and peasants fed up with the Islamic Republic’s corruption

Ray TakeyhMr. Takeyh is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of The Last Shah: America, Iran, and the Fall of the Pahlavi Dynasty.

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