January 4, 2018 | Quoted by Guy Taylor - The Washington Times

Why the ‘working poor’ uprising in Iran may have the power to topple hard-line regime

The wave of violent protests churning across Iran differs dramatically from the last major uprising that rocked the country in 2009 and could spiral out of control if the regime moves too quickly toward military-style tactics to crush the unrest.

Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the protests are smaller than the 2009 demonstrations, which featured massive crowds in the Iranian capital. “But the number of cities they’ve popped up in is astounding — especially because these are cities where the regime would have expected to have had support,” he said.

“This is spreading through the urban poor in cities other than Tehran, people that should be the staunchest supporters of the regime,” Mr. Taleblu said. “The fact that the regime can’t count on that support now is really embarrassing for hard-liners running the government,” he said.

It took Ayatollah Khamenei nearly a week to issue a public statement on the situation because he’s afraid of sending the wrong message, Mr. Taleblu added.

“The fact that these protests shifted so quickly from being an outcry against economic conditions to now a political protest against the regime shows you how desperate things are and how hungry the Iranian people are for change,” said Mr. Taleblu.

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