Call it a revolution? Iran’s protest movement defies growing brutality

Back in September, when Iran’s protest movement took the world by surprise, conventional thinking was that with patience and ruthlessness, the regime would eventually survive whatever came its way. After all, that has been the playbook so many times since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. But is this time different?

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We are now in the third month of what protesters insist is a revolution, and despite ever-increasing brutality – outrage over, for example, last week’s killing of a nine-year-old boy by unidentified gunmen in the western city of Izeh – what has gone from a women’s movement to a youth movement is now beginning to resemble a rebellion.

The regime’s playbook also includes a familiar tactic: blame it on foreign agents. We ask our panel about the crackdown on minority Sunnis, Arabs, Azeris and Kurds, which comes complete with cross-border raids in Iraq. We also ask about what the French president has labeled “hostage diplomacy”, with authorities in Tehran claiming that around forty foreign nationals, many accused of espionage, have been arrested.

Finally, there is that other insurance for a regime fighting for its survival: the race to develop the bomb. We ask our panel about the latest uranium enrichment claims and whether doubling down on that nuclear program will ultimately matter to an unsanctioned theocracy that still has plenty of power.

Produced by Juliette Laurain, Raphael Mecattaf and Imen Mellaz.

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