What’s behind the Iran protests? Domestic challenges or foreign instigation?
By CGTN's The Point
“I was one of the supporters of the protest when it began. But now I am against these violent protests because they have turned into riots. They are being instigated by Trump’s tweets, by Israel’s instigation of instability, and so on,” said Ghanbar Naderi, a correspondent with Tehran-based Press TV.
His comments come just days after tense protests erupted in Iran, leaving at least 21 people dead. Some people are calling them the biggest demonstrations to hit the country in almost a decade.
Iranian authorities have blamed the nation’s “enemies” such as the US and Israel for the unrest.
“If Trump and Netanyahu want to interfere, I condemn them. But at the same time, these are Iranian people living in their own country. They’ve seen massive corruption where corrupted officials have been siphoning the country’s resources,” said Meir Javedanfar, a Middle East analyst based in Tel Aviv.
“I think what needs to happen right now, first and foremost, is President Rouhani needs to be allowed to carry his plan for the economy,” Javedanfar added.
“People are extremely unhappy because the economic situation hasn’t improved at all,” Naderi echoed.
Anoush Ehteshami, Director of the Institute for Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies at Durham University highlighted the role of the private sector in Iran’s economy.
“President Rouhani needs to empower the private sector in a way that Iran has not been able to do for the last 20, 30 years to give them real confidence in the longevity of the market system in Iran,” he said.
He also talked about the influence of the US’ possible withdrawal from the Nuclear Deal.
“In my view, Iran has remained loyal to its commitment to this deal. America’s objections to the deal means the capital, the foreign investment that Iran desperately needs, is shy of going into this country to help the government, to help the people free themselves from the shackles that they are finding themselves under,” he said.
“The biggest mistake that President Rouhani and his diplomatic team made was that they oversold the nuclear deal to the voters,” Naderi argued.
“They said they are going to fix the economy if they signed a nuclear deal and they couldn’t in four years. And then they talked about the second term, if they get the votes in the presidential race, definitely this time things will change for the better. But again, they oversold their promises. People are now frustrated,” Naderi concluded.
The Point with Liu Xin is a 30-minute current affairs program on CGTN. It airs weekdays at 9.30 p.m. BJT (1330GMT), with rebroadcasts at 5.30 a.m. (2130GMT) and 10.30 a.m. (0230GMT).