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Iran has seen weeks of anti-government protests which began following the death of Mahsa Amini in mid-September, days after her arrest for allegedly not complying with the country’s strict rules on head coverings. Anoush Ehteshami教授, the Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah Chair in 国际 Relations, in 世界杯线上买球’s School of Government and 国际 Affairs, 审视当前的抗议浪潮.

Q: Are the protests we’ve witnessed in recent weeks different to past demonstrations against Iran’s government? 

A: We're seeing a qualitative change in the protests that can be defined in terms of their size, magnitude and geographical diversity that is now encompassing 80 plus cities and goes beyond urban centres into rural areas, which were always assumed to be the natural base of the regime. 

The profile of the demonstrations is also changing and you’ve now got not just young people, who've been at the forefront of protests for some time, but primary and secondary school children protesting in school. 

女性也处于风口浪尖, which is very significant given that it was the death of a young Kurdish woman that set off this latest round of protests. 

Demonstrations are also spreading across Iran's different ethnic communities, 库尔德人口, 它的阿拉伯人口, in Sistan and Baluchestan where there are people of Pakistani or South Asian origin, 以及逊尼派穆斯林, 这一点非常重要, not the Shia faith which is Iran’s main denomination of Islam.  

The demonstrations are now much more daring and do not seem to be held by threat or even use of violence against them. 

Q: Are we seeing a profound social and political shift in attitude towards the Islamic Republic and its legitimacy? 

A: 当1979年伊朗革命爆发时, about a quarter of Iran's population was under 35 out of about 35 million people. Now about 65 per cent of the population of 85 million is under 35.  

Virtually all of the demonstrators now have only known one political system, 哪个是伊斯兰共和国, 这在合法性方面存在非常严重的问题. How can the regime claim to be legitimate when its own children are now negating it and are protesting against it? 

和过去的抗议一样, 现在是现在的示威游行, 要求开放的呼声由来已久, democracy and liberty irrespective of the regime type, 政治秩序或代际变化. And that struggle is continuing to this day against the revolutionary state itself. 

You could also argue that this is different because now the slogans are much more confrontational. 他们还没有讨论替代方案. 但他们谈论的是自由, 关于作为女性选择着装的自由, 关于言论和结社自由, 关于警察控制的结束, and the lifting of cultural restrictions and this is new. 

This is significant because it does then raise questions about the legitimacy of the regime that claims to be God's polity on Earth. 

也, 在缺乏领导或先锋队的情况下, it is in a sense ‘cry freedom’ by citizens who have given up on the regime providing for their economic well-being, 为了进入世界其他地方, 以及被剥夺的机会. 

Q: Iran is affected by international financial sanctions. 这在世界杯线上买球所看到的一切中起了什么作用?  

A: 通货膨胀率超过50%, 货币已经崩溃, so anything that comes from overseas has got a massive inflationary price tag attached to it, sanctions deprive the country of things that most of us take for granted.  

这是一条边, that there is impoverishment of the middle classes who are leading these challenges. This is balanced against absence of hope that the regime is usurping what remains of resources and that there is no opportunity for jobs, 为改善, 不仅仅是我, 但为了我的子孙后代.  

另一方面是政治危机, that the society doesn't see their political masters responding or being able to respond to their legitimate needs and requirements – to serve the country and to serve the people 

Q: How, ultimately, do you see the situation in Iran being resolved? 

A: The population needs to be assured that their political leaders are on their side and not against them. 

The political leaders need to show a degree of goodwill and they can start by not shooting to kill demonstrators. They can start by accepting and tolerating and recognising people's lack of access, 缺乏工作和机会. Then further they can begin to formulate a response that says we recognise your fear and concerns, we hear you and this is how we're going to deal with it. 

Whether those amongst the politicians who are preaching compromise and dialogue will get the upper hand remains an open question. Ultimately the regime may manage to put down this cycle of violence. 

But what we're seeing is that these protests are now much more frequent. The last time was 2009, then 2019, this time it's 2022. What that tells you is that the cycle of protests is getting shorter, 这意味着危机正在加深. 

The message is clear that until the leaders get the country out of this hole, 他们无法平息抗议活动. 

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