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It may not last long

Freedom Breaks Out in Iran

January 1, 2018
Plain English Version

Iranian riot police tossed smoke grenades at students. Teheran University, Saturday. Photo Credit: Associated Press

By freedom, we mean freedom of expression. In America, it is the right to petition the government. The Constitution protects that right.

People in Iran are protesting. They are demonstrating in the streets. They want jobs. Many of the youth have no work. They want the Iranian president to step down. And some are saying they want the Iranian supreme leader to resign.

Iran has seen nothing like this in years. The last big protest was eight years ago. Thousands of students demonstrated. They said the election for president was unfair.

Demonstrators in Iran face tear gas. They face police brutality. And they face arrest. The government says that protests make the protesters “enemies of the state.”

Iran has a failed economy. It is not producing jobs. Some blame the bureaucracy. The state runs much of the industry. Others blame sanctions.

Major countries and Iran agreed. Iran would stop work on a nuclear weapon. For at least ten years. With that agreement, many sanctions ended. Some countries said they now might invest in Iran.

The United States lifted some but not all its sanctions. Iranians still feel the effect of the lack of American investments.

Again, much of the Iranian unrest is about the economy. But something deeper may be taking place. There are concerns about corruption and the lack of personal freedom.

The protests are a challenge to President Hassan Rouhani. He said he would revitalize the economy.   Some of the crowds are aiming their anger at supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Video on social media showed Iranian calling for Mr. Khamenei to step down. Some were also chanting, “Referendum, referendum, this is the slogan of the people.” It was a referendum that created the Islamic Republic in 1979.

The current protests began over a rise in food prices. They spread.

A journalist said, “Young people are angry and frustrated, without a hope in the future. If they join these small groups of determined students, there could be a real problem.”Some social media users called for more rallies in Tehran and other cities. The government responded by shutting down the messaging app.

Students standing behind the fences of Tehran University shouted at people passing. The students were asking them to join in the protest. The students chanted a slogan, “This is the end of their adventure.” They meant the end of the Islamic Republic.

The protests are not the end of events in Iran.

Source: The New York Times December 30, 3017

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