Is Iran in a revolutionary situation?

News & SocietyPolitics

  • Author Siavash Soltani Hemmat
  • Published July 13, 2023
  • Word count 1,172

Is Iran in a revolutionary situation?

Iran experienced a very critical situation last year. The country's political system has faced many problems. Wide demonstrations along dozens of cities occurred in the country, and the government did extreme violence to surpass these protests, which caused up to six hundred deaths, Eleven official executions, dozens of eye injuries, and hundreds of thousands of detentions. Moreover, the Iranian diaspora Showed huge support for the movement by holding massive communities worldwide. The international community condemned the violence and emphasized the Iranian people's right to demonstration. Also, significant international celebrities expressed their solidarity with protesters, and millions of ordinary global people showed sympathy. However, many experts, including some famous revolution theorists, have doubted the existence of the revolutionary situation in Iran. This article evaluates Iran's developments under the most valid revolution theories and anticipates Iran in a revolutionary situation that will probably lead to the forthcoming revolution. Based on the revolution theories for the existence of a revolutionary situation, some conditions should be provided, such as economic pressures, rising disapproval by elites, intellectuals supporting change, the presence of class conflicts, social and revolutionary mobilization, ideology for coordination and appropriate international background.

Regarding the economic pressures caused by External economic competition or international sanctions, governments will attitude to gain income from the public by increasing taxes. Also, their ability to reward their supporters falls. So, these developments cause to emerge of discontent from the government. (Goldstone, 2019: 75_76) The Iranian government has been facing massive sanctions based on its nuclear program by the United States government since 2018. Regarding these sanctions, Iran`s petrol sail decreased roughly to one four and lack of financial resources led to not raising the government employers in reaction to colossal inflation, causes to extensive disapproval. These disapprovals have shown themselves in large strikes held by employees of some critical organizations such as the Justice Department, police and member of the shahid foundation, which supports the dead and injured former soldiers' families.

Growth of discontent in elites happens when elites feel that they unjustly missed the benefits (Goldstone, 2019:76_77). Many previous Islamic Republic groups have been eliminated from power in recent years. This cycle of excluding, not limited to reformist groups led by former president Khatami, included even the nearest persons to the Islamic revolution`s leader Ali Khamenei such as the former president Ahmadinejad, the former parliament speaker Ali Larijani and even the head of the former justice department Sadegh Larijani. These developments are so significant because of the elite's pivotal role in the revolution process, in which a revolution could be victorious when elites are robust and have the resources to withdraw the government and the militant group are weakened.

Intellectual`s supporting change happens when societies are just before the revolution. Noticing this, different groups of intellectuals such as writers, artists, and teachers will turn their back on the regime and take certain opponents to it (Brington,1965: 45_59). Among the movement, intellectuals' conflict against the regime has taken a stand. As an example of this, many actresses have removed their hijabs publicly. In addition, the teachers have held several gatherings against rulers, and the authors union has written several sharp tone statements.

Revolutionary mobilization is an essential fact that requires the favoured group mobilization in the organizations like farmers' institutes, workers' or student's unions and expert groups or by military-civil elites (Goldstone,2019:78_79). In the past months, the Iranian opposition has reached some powerful coalition regardless of their deep internal conflicts. In this process, diverse ideological groups, such as left parties, nationalists, monarchists, feminists and ethnic parties, have organized themselves in vast corporations. Furthermore, some local organizations were established under the youth's name, conducting demonstrations in different cities. These developments show strong mobilization from Iranian opposition against the regime, which had not existed for four decades.

Based on Having a sense of hate from up-classes by crowds, people feel that they have been misused by up-classes and their absolute benefits have been stolen by them (Brington,1965: 59_76). Signs of class conflicts are evident in Iran and have Shown themselves in questioning regime officials' wealth and their children's significant opportunities to get a job, make money and reach power compared with crowds. Even this conflict has been expressed in cinema, among comedy movies such as Rahman 1400, side Mirror, Katyusha and several others.

The existence of an ideology for coordinating the demands of people and elites to present a common interpretation from the resistance is a vital condition (Goldstone,2019:79_81). In this case, gathering all parties around the concept of democracy is a critical sign. Establishing a democratic state was the primary demand that protesters yelled in the streets since the movement began. This concept has connected different political sides and provided the platform for uniting.

Being the appropriate international background is maybe one of the most critical requirements. The success of a revolution depended on foreign support from the opposition or did not take back the current government. Regarding this, international superpowers struggling in wars or internal problems, conflicting with each other or foreign states' aid to the revolutionaries may help to withdraw the regime (Goldstone,2019:82). Considering this, two superpowers are straggling on the Ukraine battlefield today, and Iran's situation is not their first concern. On the other hand, the Russian government, that is a natural supporter of the Iranian regime, cannot dominantly help ayatollahs maintain power. Moreover, except for the United States, the other Western countries have supported the Iranian opposition; however, this help had limited to the statements and weak sanctions, but it had a key influence on the opposition's confidence and regime fear. Furthermore, if the aids of the Western countries were more comprehensive compared with other revolutions, it would be a game changer.

Eventually, the last sign is the incapacity or unwellness of the agents of the government to surpass the contenders' coalition or the commitment to its claims (Tilly,1978,200_213). Despite over eight months of struggles between the regime and the opposition, the government has not succeeded in surpassing the protests. Meanwhile, the opposition coalitions have gained more power, and protesters' commitment to them is increasing quickly. Nonetheless, the government has not challenged the opposition's claims even by having absolute media control. In addition, the government agents have signed an unwellness to overturn protesters. Regarding this, opponents occurred in the organizations, such as the revolutionary guard and Basij, where the Khamenei power base belongs. Based on the recent report of revolutionary guard`s officers meeting with the leader disclosed by the Persian diasporas media, almost seventy percent of the organization's personnel discontent the regime's current policies. Furthermore, the report disclosed that a group of guard officers intended to assassinate Khamenei by bombing his office with artillery fire.

Therefore, considering the requirements, such as economic pressures, rising disapproval by elites, intellectuals supporting change, the presence of class conflicts, social and revolutionary mobilization, being ideology for coordination and appropriate international background, the writer emphasizes that Iran is definitely in a revolutionary situation and will probably face a massive social revolution in the short term.

Autor: Siavash Soltani


‌Brinton, Crane, The Anatomy of Revolution, Third edition, New York, Vintage books, 1965

Goldstone, Jack A, Revolutions: A very short introduction, first edition, Translated by Mohsen Solasi, Tehran, Andisheye Ehsan, 2019

Tilly, Charles, From Mobilization to Revolution, first edition, New York, Newbery Award Records, 1978

MA in political sciences from Tehran University, the most ranked in Iran, Member of the central council of Iran National Front, the main opposition party in Iran

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