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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Beyond the Headlines podcast: Iran's long history of protest and civil unrest

Of all the countries in the Middle East, historically, none other than Iran has been more defined by the spark within a person or group that drives them to take to the streets and fight for change.

Iranian protesters chant slogans at a rally in Tehran, Iran. The Trump administration is calling on Iran's government to stop blocking Instagram and other popular social media sites as Iranians demonstrate in the streets. Ebrahim Noroozi / AP Photo.
Iranian protesters chant slogans at a rally in Tehran, Iran. The Trump administration is calling on Iran's government to stop blocking Instagram and other popular social media sites as Iranians demonstrate in the streets. Ebrahim Noroozi / AP Photo.

In Iran this week, a small demonstration that started in Mashhad turned into nationwide protests, with some calling for regime change. Iran has a long history of coups, protests and demonstrations.

Of all the countries in the Middle East, historically, none other than Iran has been more defined by the spark within a person or group that drives them to take to the streets and fight for change.

Host Naser Al Wasmi is joined by Golnaz Esfandiari, journalist and political analyst for Freedom House, to shed light into why the demonstrations are happening in the first place across the country.

Later in the show, Nazenin Ansari, journalist and managing editor of Kayhan London, draws comparisons from this protest to demonstrations past. The Green Revolution, or the Persian Awakening as it was called during its height in 2009, was calling for the removal of then president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The grievances were clear then, and the Iranian government’s reaction was equally clear: widespread arrests and a clampdown on the protests.

This time, however, the main takeaway of the protests is not clear, and neither is the outcome.

Want more insights from Beyond the Headlines? Follow the series on iTunes