The protests in Iran have borne the hallmarks of a color revolution since the very beginning and, as time moved on, the nature of the demonstrations have become more and more apparent. But even as the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards corps, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, declared the end of the “sedition,” many Iranians remain deeply suspicious of the protests but also recognize some legitimate complaints.
After having discussed ongoing violence with a number of Iranians, there are a few points that are abundantly clear. First, Iranians acknowledge that there is fertile ground for anger and a need for change. From individual rights and women’s rights to the rights of expression and economic stagnation, Iranians do not discount the legitimacy of complaints and the need for protest.
For most Iranians, particularly the younger generation, there is a distinct desire to live in a country that does not oppress the population with religious laws, oppressive restrictions, and that operates an economic system which works for everyone. Even Iranian President Rouhani admitted many of the issues being brought to the forefront are legitimate.
However, it is also true that many Iranians are deeply suspicious of the protests and for good reason. In 2009, the United States along with other “allies,” launched the “Green Revolution” in Iran that was a rather obvious color revolution attempt. The color revolution failed and was crushed by the Iranian government.
Recently, the Trump administration met with the Israeli government and the two emerged from the meeting with a plan to “check Iran’s influence” in the region. Many Iranians are wondering whether or not these protests are part of that plan, i.e. a second attempt at a color revolution in Iran.
And then there are the smaller things, suspicious little details that might fly over the heads of Westerners seeking to analyze the situation in Iran. For instance, the protests have not been widely televised within the activist Iranian community.
It seems many of the individuals who would have been fertile ground for a typical protest (the youth who want reform and who are suffering under economic stagnation) have not been included in the memo to get out into the streets. Even the people who took part in the 2009 Green Revolution are claiming that this current protest is not their doing and that they have no links to the organization of the demonstrations. Many of them are simply looking at one another, wondering what is happening in their own country.
Another interesting aspect of the protests is that, despite the protests containing chants of “death to Rouhani” and “death to the dictator (Khamenei),” the demonstrations began in an area of the country that is considered more conservative. Protests tend to occur in larger more urban environments but the current protests have been focused mainly in the rural areas and villages.
Anyone familiar with the situation in Syria will remember Dara’a, the so-called “cradle of the revolution,” where protests over police brutality were hijacked by the intelligence operation underway by the United States, NATO, GCC, and Israel. Many of those “protesters,” turned out to be mercenaries and terrorists shipped in by hostile Western powers.
In an interview with Sarah Abed writing for MintPress News, we hear from a Syrian girl named “Yasmine,” recounting the early days of the “revolution” in Dara’a.
Al Jazeera, Orient News and Al Arabiya showed a snapshot of a demonstration that happened in Al Hamidia for an entire day, showing the same scene the entire day and claiming that the secret service was using force against demonstrators. I called Al Jazeera to ask them to show more of the demonstration, if it was really as big as they described it, but no one answered.
I went out for a jog and ran into my aunt, who coincidentally happened to be in Al Hamidia when the demonstration happened. I asked her if it was big, but she said it wasn’t. She said the demonstrators gathered for a few minutes and then left – no one said anything to them, people watched for awhile and then everything went back to normal.
So from day one we knew it was not a real revolution. Afterwards we started hearing all kinds of frustrating news. For instance, one of my friends told me about an incident involving her cousin’s 13-year-old son. He came home one day with 200 dollars in his pocket, way too much for his age. So my friend’s cousin asked him where he got it – his son told him that someone gave him the money in exchange for writing negative things about Assad on a wall.
There was something strange about the demonstrations that started happening in Dara’a. News about the demonstrations started popping up on Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya before they even happened. It almost seemed like the rebels were getting their orders from the TV networks.
There is also something strange about the protests in Iran since many Iranians simply don’t recognize the people demonstrating in their town. I have personally spoken to a number of Iranians who have pointed out that the people watching them on television do not recognize the individuals protesting in their towns. While this may simply be a case of the individuals not knowing every person in the village or town, it does suggest the possibility that participants have been moved into the areas for the purposes of disruption in the same way they were moved into Dara’a.
At this point, everything points toward a color revolution attempt by the Western anti-Iranian powers by virtue of hijacking an economic protest. If the protests soon dissipate as a result of a security crackdown, then Iran may yet again avoid a repeat of what happened in Egypt, Libya, and Syria. If, however, the violence continues, then we may be witnessing the beginning of a war against Iran that has been in the works for years.