.. The current unrest looks different. So far, the middle class and the highly educated have been more witnesses than participants. Nonviolence is not a sacred principle. The protests first intensified in small religious towns all over the country, where the government used to take its support for granted. Metropolitan areas have so far lagged behind.
.. they all mention unemployment, inflation and the looting of national wealth: A woman asks President Hassan Rouhani to live on only her salary of $300 a month
.. The chants are also different this time. “Where is my vote?” and “Free political prisoners!” dominated in 2009. Today they have been replaced with “No to inflation!” and “Down with embezzlers!” and “Leave the country alone, mullahs.”
.. emerged as a resonant, nationwide cry for justice and equality.
.. Since the 1979 revolution, Iranian politics has been defined by a split between reformists and principlists, conservatives who say they are devoted to the principles of the revolution. During the 1999 and 2009 uprisings, the protesters enjoyed support from powerful reformists. This time, the dichotomy has been transcended.
.. The demonstrators don’t want support from anyone associated with the status quo, including Mr. Rouhani, the reformist president.
.. Iranian economists and intellectuals have long warned that something like this could happen.
.. Mr. Renani predicted that if issues like growing unemployment were not addressed within two years, Iran would face turmoil.
.. discussing how Iran’s economic system has produced first-class and second-class citizens, and warning that some government institutions have become economic conglomerates more powerful than the state.
.. the alarming decline of household income over the past decade
.. Unlike during the first decades of the post-revolutionary Iran, the rich now heedlessly flaunt their wealth.
.. the gentlemen’s agreement among the embezzlers held that they keep a modest appearance at home and launder their money in Dubai and Toronto.
.. That generation cared about appearances and never dropped the veneer of fealty to the ideals of the 1979 revolution. Their millennial offspring, on the other hand, hardly care.
.. They brazenly drive Porsches and Maseratis through the streets of Tehran
before the eyes of the poor and post about their wealth on Instagram.
.. The photos travel across apps and social media and enrage the hardworking people in other cities.
.. Iranians see pictures of the family members of the authorities drinking and hanging out on beaches around the world, while their daughters are arrested over a fallen head scarf and their sons are jailed for buying alcohol. The double standard has cultivated an enormous public
.. when the shah decided he had “heard the voice of the revolution,” he marked the beginning of his end. That impression has been reinforced by the Arab Spring: Zine el-Abedine Bin Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt tried to appease protesters and were forced from power. Bashar al-Assad of Syria never even recognized the existence of opposition and he remains in office.
.. something has fundamentally changed: The unquestioning support of the rural people they relied on against the discontent of the metropolitan elite is no more. Now everyone seems unhappy.