<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="https://newamericadotorg-static.s3.amazonaws.com/static/css/newamericadotorg.min.css"></link>

Iran knows how to silence protests. If only it knew how to listen

Azadeh Moaveni wrote forThe Guardian about the political backdrop to the recent Iranian protests:

In Kermanshah, a Kurdish town in Iran’s north-west, the protests on Fridaywere a classic scene of revolt: young men in battered clothes shouting and hurling rocks at the police as a water cannon sprayed an ineffective mist over their heads. In footage on social media, the crowd never appeared to grow larger than a few hundred, but its defiance was palpable. What is vexing the people of Kermanshah? What is vexing the people of Iran, who have protested in 20 cities across the country for four successive days?
Depending on what media you follow, they want everything from lower prices and a better economy to the wholesale fall of the clerical government, and the world could be confronting anything from scattered discontent to a looming Tahrir Square. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, open displays of dissent are not as uncommon as is often portrayed: women engage in acts of civil disobedience over dress codes and access to public spaces, ordinary citizens protest against unpaid wages and lost deposits.