Two years ago this month, nationwide protests turned into one of the largest uprisings in Iran’s history. From a sudden increase in gas prices, people took to the streets to protest their frustrations, before the demands became political mere hours later with protesters calling for regime change. On the verge of collapse, the Iranian regime brutally cracked down on the protesters to stop the unrest, murdering over 1,500 peaceful protesters in the process, and detaining thousands more.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said, “Yet, the “bitter nightmare” of another uprising by “an unknown generation” haunts the regime. In a matter of days and sparking a broader crackdown that would see countless activists tortured over a period of several months.”
On November 16, the state-run Sharq daily ran a publication featuring an interview with Iranian sociologist, Dr. Asef Bayat about the November 2019 uprising and its effects on society.
The Sharq daily described Dr Bayat’s classification of a new social class that has emerged in Iran. A cross between the middle-class poor and the urban poor class, the new middle-poor class ‘consists of educated but poor people, aware of their poverty’.
Dr. Bayat explained how economic factors seemed to have played an important role during the protests, ‘but the political rationale was more critical’.
He said, “People feel that their will is not reflected in the country’s management and that the government is in the process of realizing its own ideas, which has little to do with the demands and expectations of the citizens. These grievances include domestic as well as foreign policy and international relations, especially in the region.”
Dr. Bayat highlighted that among the protesters, people from each social sector claimed their own demands, for example, farmers focused on water shortages, workers demanded delayed wages, while poor people demanded decent employment and security, and defrauded creditors demanding the repayments of their life savings.
He said, “In my view, this turning point was so important because the government’s responsibility for creating the current failures and crises became the common discourse of the protesters with different social backgrounds.”
The NCRI said, “According to Iran’s state media, the population of Iranian poor has tripled in recent years in Iran, while the unemployment rate, inflation, and prices are skyrocketing daily. Thus, more people are becoming poor.”
Dr. Bayat warned that the protests in November 2019 could have been a warning to regime officials to adjust their policies and find solutions to the economic and social problems, but instead they chose to increase their oppressive measures because of the fear of their potential loss of power.
The NCRI said, “Nearly half of the Iranian population are youths under the age of 30. This generation has experienced nothing but social and economic pressures under the mullahs’ regime. This generation has proven to be a threat to the regime’s existence by forming the majority of Iranian protesters during the mass uprising in 2018 and 2019.”
These days, the Iranian youth are awakening and joining the Resistance Units to fight against the oppressive regime and their theocratic rule over society. All they want is a free, peaceful, democratic Iran that will be safer place for future generations.