On 28 December 2017, important demonstrations took place in Khorasan (that region of Iran located at Iran’s border with Afghanistan). The protestors denounced the unemployment, corruption within the government and a drop in the people’s standard of living.

The main cities that have been affected are: Mashhad (the sanctuary of Imam Reza and the country’s third most important city), Birjand, Kashmar and Nishapur.

According to the images available, the crowds chanted: « Not in Gaza, not in Lebanon, my life is in Iran! », « Death to Rouhani! » and in some cases « Death to the dictator! ».

Contrary to the way Western media presents them, these demonstrations bear no relation to the 2009 “Green Revolution”. At that time, the aim was to remove President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and replace him with a leader that would support US interests. The protests were held almost exclusively in Teheran and Ispahan. They were for the most part the expression of the well-heeled bourgeoisie. In contrast, the recent events belong very much to the people. The demonstrations are directed principally against Sheikh Hassan Rouhani. He had promised that once the 5 + 1 agreement had been signed, sanctions would be lifted. However even though the treaty has now been signed, the sanctions have still not been lifted – not ever. One also reproaches Rouhani for the unbelievable wealth injected into his entourage. Second: the protestors call on the Guide of the Revolution, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. They reproach him for not calling the President to line and focussing all his efforts on defending the Palestinian people, Hezbollah and Syria. The supporters of the former president Ahmadinejad (whose relatives have been forbidden to compete in the elections) have joined hands with the demonstrators.

The police have shown themselves to be very tolerant: policemen on mopeds have mingled with the demonstrators. At Mashhad, they went right into the middle of the crowd that applauded them.

Unemployment is officially at 12% but it is very unevenly distributed across the territory. It would be much more significant in Khorasan.

Anoosha Boralessa