Iran Protests, in the Crossfire of a Battle of Words and Images: A Six-Question Analysis

On December 28, 2017, a series of protests started in several Iranian cities, and they are continuing despite a firm state response. Protests are spreading like wildfire, even with casualties (21 dead and hundreds arrested as of January 2nd) and gaining momentum day by day. What happened all of a sudden in Iran to trigger such protests? To answer this question, let’s go back to the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of action (JCPOA) on January 16, 2016. At that time, expectations were very high. Unfortunately for the Iranian people, there have been no results; instead, the average Iranian has seen a total lack of significant economic improvement, despite Iran being the second-largest economy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with an estimated GDP in 2016 of US$412.2 billion. The unemployment rate is high and does not seem to budge, staying around 12.6% of the total workforce as reported by Ieconomics: This rate is higher among youth and women, and has recently been as high as 29.2%. Knowing that over 57 million people (70% of the population) are of working age, this adds more pressure on the Iranian economy, especially since many of those who are employed are considered to be under-employed. The ongoing crisis in the energy sector has not helped matters, as Iran’s economy depends, to a large extent, on oil revenues that are volatile. The earlier economic sanctions struck Iran full force, but the country avoided becoming the Asian Venezuela even though President … Continue reading Iran Protests, in the Crossfire of a Battle of Words and Images: A Six-Question Analysis