Iran grapples with how to deal with Protests

People who follow daily politics in Iran believe that the government is not dealing with the widespread rage. On the Principlist side, there are daily calls for acknowledging the reality of the protesters’ economic grievances. Yet besides these calls, they are dealing with the events as part of a wider foreign conspiracy that’s aimed at shaking the stability of the country.

Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari (pictured), the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, announced at a Jan. 3 press conference the end of what he described as “the sedition of 1396,” referring to the current Iranian year ending March 20. Jafari hinted that a “former official” may have been involved in initially starting the protests that quickly spiraled out of control.

He said, “This call [to protest] started with a website that is linked to an individual who has opened his mouth in opposition to the values and principles of the system.”

Jafari continued, “Security officials are investigating this matter, and if they see interference by this former official, certainly he will be confronted by law enforcement.” While Jafari never named the official, it’s believed he was referring to former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad’s relationship with the political establishment in Iran is at its worst; it comes after his refused candidacy in the May 2017 presidential election and the latest charges by the judiciary against him and his former deputy Hamid Baghaei, who was sentenced to 63 years in jail. The former president challenged the supreme leader’s advice not to run for office, and later he started an open confrontation with the judiciary, mainly its chief, Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani.

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