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These Iran Protests Could Be a Very Big Deal - Page 2

President Rouhani calls for calm demonstrations, rebuffs Trump
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2017 2:26 PM CST

  • Backfired? An explainer at BuzzFeed notes that some analysts think hardliners encouraged the original economic protests in a bid to embarrass Rouhani. But if so, that strategy has backfired now that the protests have expanded to larger issues. Protesters not only want the current regime gone, they're calling for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down.
  • A different feel: These protests are different than those that broke out after the 2009 Iranian elections, writes Trita Parsi at CNN. For one thing, the demonstrations are not being driven by the usual reformists. "Their uncompromisingly anti-regime slogans suggest they may belong to the segment of the population who tends not to vote, doesn't believe the system can be reformed and either never subscribed to or has lost hope in the idea of gradual change," writes Parsi. "Add to that those who have joined the protests out of a sense of economic desperation and humiliation." All of the above makes the outcome hard to predict.
  • Trump: He has been supporting the protests. "The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism," he tweeted Sunday. "Looks like they will not take it any longer. The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!" Sen. Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, implored Trump to do more than tweet. "You have to lay out a plan," he said on Face the Nation, per the Washington Post. “We’ve got a chance here to deliver some fatal blows to really bad actors in 2018, but if we blink, God help us all.”

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