We’re seeing it in a new generation that’s doing it, and we’re seeing it link up with smaller towns across the country and with people who are not from the middle class.Dr. Narges Bajoghli, assistant professor of Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins University, regarding how widespread protests are across Iran.
Background: Widespread protests emerged in Iran over two weeks ago following the death of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for violating the state-mandated dress code. The government has limited citizens’ internet and phone service but a New York Times report obtained video footage.
Why It Matters: While Iranians have protested their government in recent years, the footage shows that current demonstrations are unique because “all walks of life and all ethnic backgrounds” are present, not just specific people groups, according to Dr. Reza Akbari, a program manager for the Middle East and North Africa at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting.
Something to Consider: Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, spoke publicly about the protests for the first time yesterday. In a speech to police students, he said “the riots” were planned and “designed by America and the Zionist regime, and their employees.” He also warned that protesters who incite “unrest to sabotage the Islamic Republic deserve harsh prosecution and punishment.”
What Video Footage Reveals About the Protests in Iran (The New York Times)
Iran’s supreme leader breaks silence on protests, blames US (The Associated Press)
by Jenna Lee,