The protest, which began one month ago with the death of Mahsa Amini, has extended to all seventeen regions of Iran. At least 108 people were killed in the operation, including women and children. Over 12,500 individuals were arrested, and 244 were injured.
The Iranian government has shut down internet services and implemented a harsh crackdown. This is the fourth such protest against Iran’s theocratic dictatorship to be registered globally. However, the Iranian regime crushed the last three protests, which were against inflation, corruption, and elections, but this time the demonstrators were against the Iranian regime’s core policies. Women were refusing to wear hijabs. Ayatollah Khomeini’s sculptors were targeted.
Understanding the matter better
In the second month of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa requiring all women to wear hijab in public. Since then, patrolling police have patrolled Iran’s streets in groups of seven. The police are on the lookout for women who are not wearing an Iranian-style headscarves. If they observe a violation, they pick up such ladies off the road, put them in a car, and torture them before transporting them to treatment institutions.
In the far west part of Iran, there is a small village called Saqqaz. MahsaAmini, a twenty-year-old girl from there, moved to Tehran with her family. On September 13, she was traveling with her brother, Kurdish Amini, down Tehran’s shaheed route when she was stopped by Iran’s Gesht-i-Irshad, moral police who inspect people’s morality according to their standards. Gesht-i-Irshad police in Iran said that Mahsa Amini’s scarf was not correctly put on her head, and she was apprehended. However, the 22-year-old female was tortured in the automobile to the point of coma. The 22-year-old girl died after being in a coma for two days. Protests began when Mahsa Amini’s burial was moved to his Kurdish neighborhood. Dictator death slogans seemed similar at first.
Iranian security officers mistreated victims and used tear gas on them; cellphone films of this were made and circulated across the world. Anger was sparked, and this was widely publicized throughout Iran. Youngsters were particularly enraged. Men came out with ladies as well. Girls were removing their hijabs and hurling them into flaming flames in protest, and some were even cutting their hair. The Iranian leadership, already concerned about inflation, is extremely concerned about the current scenario.
The question here is whether anthems, women without hijab protesting, and foreign sanctions are enough to pave the way for a new revolution. Before we proceed, it is important to understand that mob-led revolutions do not last long because they either represent a community due to over-activism or are not in majority in some cases.
A country’s revolution is indeed brought about by the people, but it does not survive just on popular support, but also on solid economic and international grounds. When these foundations begin to tremble, the revolution collapses. Similarly, the Iranian revolution has three pillars upon which it continues to stand.
The first strong pillar of the Iranian revolution is oil in large quantities, which greatly aids the economy’s operation. Iran is the world’s fourth biggest oil reservoir country, accounting for 9.54% of global reserves. If this reservoir is depleted at this pace, Iran will be able to utilize it for 239 years, despite bans on refining and exporting this oil. Furthermore, Iran, a significant oil reserve country, ranks 14th in terms of oil exports. Iran earns $30 billion from oil exports. Oil exports, which account for 80% of Iranian exports, provide a solid foundation for the Iranian revolution.
The way forward
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRG), which number 210,000 and are more trained and armed than the 400,000-strong Iranian army, are the second line of defense for this revolution. They have superior military equipment to the Iranian army. This force was established by Ayatollah Khomeini to subdue the anti-revolutionary crowd.
The third indirect element is the United States of America, which benefits greatly from this change. The United States is the greatest weapon exporter, accounting for 37% of worldwide arms sales. With the revolution, the tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran over sects and the desire to become the head of the Muslim world necessitates additional weaponry, which the US provides. Between 2015 and 2020, the United States sold about $64.1 billion in weaponry to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The United States will never take any action that will lead to the downfall of the Iranian revolution. That implies peace between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as a halt to US arms sales.
The Iranian revolution has reached the stage when any change in the international environment would lead to its demise. This could only happen if there is a revolt in the Iranian guards, the economy collapses, or the Iranian people are so opposed to the revolution that the Iranian revolutionary guard becomes helpless to deal with the situation, and the ongoing protest does not have any leadership that can lead this protest against the theocratic regime. The supreme leader has control over the courts and the law. Even the Iranian Supreme Court issued an order to smash the anti-government protests.
Muhammad Wasama Khalid is a Correspondent and Researcher at Global Affairs. He tweets at @Wasama Khalid and can be reached at Wasamakhalid@gmail.com. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.