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‘Iran is no longer a fortress’

Protests in the Islamic republic were the topic of interest in newspapers across the region this week

Image Credit: REUTERS
People protest in Tehran, Iran December 30, 2017 in this still image from a video obtained by REUTERS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Gulf News

It seems that the Iranian regime is living in a different age, and is unaware that facts cannot be concealed in a time of advanced developments in the field of telecommunications and social media, wrote the UAE’s Al Bayan. “Iran is oblivious to the reality that the entire world is witnessing the protests that have spread to dozens of cities in the country, and is watching the oppressive practices of the Iranian security forces and Revolutionary Guard. Strangely, as the number of deaths, injuries and arrests rises, Iranian officials are claiming that the unrest has been quelled and the situation is under control. But as the situation exacerbates to disastrous levels that forebode rampant chaos throughout the country, the Iranian regime is determined to respond with acts of oppression and terrorism against the Iranian people. The regime is in a very dangerous situation and not willing to listen to calls from around the world and its Arab neighbours that are urging it to cease acts of oppression and to open channels of dialogue with protestors before the crisis escalates further.”

Religious rhetoric can no longer cover up corruption in the state of Iran; hence, the future holds many surprises, noted Kuwait’s Arab Times. “The least of these surprises is the rise in people’s participation in decision-making, marking the beginning of slow change in the structure of the regime. This is bound to happen without the people of Iran and the revolutionary force falling into the trap of civil war that the regime’s leaders are brandishing. From 1979 until today, Iranians have been paying a heavy price for the revolution, which aimed to bring justice and erase injustice; but the reality of the revolution was about uprooting and replacing a crowned king with a thousand turbaned kings. These kings took on a religious face to impose their dictatorship that left Iran — a great nation with civilisation and wealth — in ruins.”

Iran’s protests are purely Iranian. Neither Saudi Arabia nor the US had anything to do with them, said the London-based Pan-Arab paper Asharq Al Awsat. “This does not mean that the world will not act later to rescue the protesters and support them if the regime continues to threaten the region’s countries by sponsoring their enemies and firing missiles at their cities. Iran is no longer a fortress, but an open land to whoever wants to support these angry people. What happened in Iran is significant: Persians, Azeris, Kurds, Baloch, Arabs, Shiites, Sunnis and even clerics from Qom participated in the protests that erupted in around 50 cities. The regime no longer has any popularity and this is one of the most dangerous aspects. Protests are a significant development that have weakened the regime that is now besieged by the Iranian people from inside and by international and regional powers from outside. Both parties will force it to change or it will collapse.”

The widespread demonstrations were initially triggered by the worsening economic situation in the country, but soon touched upon other issues relevant to the level of democracy and respect for human rights in the country, wrote the Jordan Times. “The United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) meeting, requested by the US on the current wave of unrest and demonstrations across Iran, turned out to be inconclusive. Under the circumstances, the UNSC may opt to remain focused on the domestic situation in Iran, but stop short of taking any concrete action for the time being.”