Causes behind Iran's protests: A preliminary account
Date Written: 06/01/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
The causes of the uprising that has been rocking the Islamic Republic of Iran for a week now are unsurprisingly both structural and contingent.
Since March 2016, Iran has seen 1,700 social protests, according to the Islamic Revolution Devotees Society (Jamiyat-e Isargara-e Enqelab-e Eslami), a conservative party of which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a founding member. Over the course of 2017, hundreds of protests took place by workers, pensioners, teachers, and students. Labour protests continued due to unpaid salaries, neoliberal economic policies and resistance towards labour organising, which were confronted with harsh repression by security forces and sanctioned by arbitrary layoffs.
While waves of such protests had already taken place throughout the Ahmadinejad presidency, President Rouhani's stance against labour rights and a decent minimum wage had only exacerbated the situation. Over the course of 2017, pensioners and teachers staged many protests against unpaid pensions and low salaries - yet their concerns were ignored by the authorities. The December 7 Student Day saw a wave of university protests with students demanding social justice and an end to political tutelage, while pointing out that the climate for activism had even become worse.
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