Iran is the only nation in the Middle East with freedom of speech for common folk. And this freedom is becoming strangle in the neck for President Rouhani and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The protest was set out as a result of expectation gap. President Rouhani made high promises to the electorate regarding a bright future for them in the aftermath of the nuclear deal where Iran was let off the sanctions imposed on them.
International Crisis Group’s Iran project director, Ali Vaez negotiated with all parties during the nuclear deal is of the opinion that the nuclear deal failed delivering the results expected by the people. This has led to the current crisis.
“The government inflated public expectations a lot,” Vaez said. “The reality is, however, that President Rouhani failed to pave the ground for the potential the nuclear deal created, and that has led to a lot of frustration in Iran,” he said. “President Rouhani over-promised and under-delivered.”
An Iranian political analyst, Mohammad Ali Shabani endorses this view. He said, “The issue is elevated expectations that are where the danger comes in. People have been expecting better lives, partly as a result of Rouhani’s promises in connection with the nuclear deal. It’s not a matter of absolute poverty driving people into the streets. It’s mostly about people thinking that ‘We need more than this, we were actually promised more than what’s happening, and we don’t have the jobs that we were anticipating’.”
There were benefits accrued from the nuclear deal, although it did not trickle down to all sections of the society leading to such unrest. The Iranian economy is marked with unemployment, high cost of living and income inequality that increased the financial hardship of the common men.
There is no site of the movement curtailing. New wave of protests has been intensifying in various parts of the country with no signs of losing momentum.
According to Iranian state media, 14 people and one policeman have died so far and 400 protestors are being arrested.
Iranian police and Revolutionary Guard are maintaining extreme caution and restrain so far. In fact, they have to as western media and United States are monitoring the situation closely and any sign of high handedness by the authorities will be a subject of censure and diplomatic pressure against Iran.