Protests in Iran: End for the Islamic Revolution

Protests in Iran: End for the Islamic Revolution

The hijab protests are also aimed at the corrupt clerical leadership. It is about the abolition of the Islamic Republic.

People and cars at protests in Tehran, in the background a fire and clouds of smoke

The protests against the Iranian leadership are spreading in Tehran Photo: ap

When does a revolt become a revolution? The arch-conservative Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has called for “more decisive” – i.e. more brutal – action against the demonstrators. But even the last Shah in Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, had set up a sophisticated and feared repressive apparatus. However, he was eventually chased out of the country.

Once a certain tipping point is reached, it’s like the climate: there’s no turning back. Of course, no one can predict whether the current protests will have that one crucial spark needed for revolution. Of the “Green Revolution” of 2009, despite the mass demonstrations, this spark was missing. That could be different this time.

Already the hijab uprising is changing Iran as well as the Middle East. 1979 has the Islamic revolution triggered an international earthquake. For the first time clerics took over a large country that was important because of its oil wealth. The oil companies were nationalized, the Americans thrown out. There were also fears of a “danger of contagion,” and the ayatollahs themselves fueled these fears.

At least now it is clear: This Islamic revolution has long since failed. All she has achieved is that the Iranian population is more secular and anti-clerical than all its neighbors combined. Iran could become the first Islamic country in the region to enforce a separation of state and religion. In any case, the pictures of burning headscarves are in the world. They shock the regime, but also the people in Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Corruption is more widespread than ever

The Iranians get just as little of their country’s wealth of raw materials as they did under the Shah, they have remained just as poor. The Iranians can only laugh about the German inflation rate of 7 to 8 percent. You fight with over 50 percent inflation. Corruption is more prevalent than ever, and international sanctions hit those who have no access to the fleshpots of power particularly badly.

Previous waves of protests have been about reforming the Islamic Republic. Now it’s about getting rid of it. The burning headscarves in Iran are therefore not just a symbol of a women’s uprising. They are the symbol of hatred for the Ayatollah dictatorship. This is why so many people can gather behind it.

But the regime is not dead yet. The Revolutionary Guards were also not let loose on the demonstrators. When that happens, much blood will spill.

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