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Protests in Iran unlikely to bring about change

Despite their sudden spread, protests in Iran are unlikely to instigate the change that demonstrators desire.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (R) hands out documents to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani after presenting his budget for 2018-2019 on December 10, 2017, in Tehran. / AFP PHOTO / ATTA KENARE        (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

Following months of scattered, issue-specific protests across Iran over matters such as unpaid wages and lost deposits amid bankruptcies of unlicensed credit and financial institutions, the northeastern city of Mashhad saw protests on Dec. 28, mainly over “high prices,” with smaller rallies held in regional towns like Neyshabur and Birjand. The day after, similar protests were also held in other cities around the country. So far, the protests appear provincial: The security deputy of Tehran’s governor said fewer than 50 people gathered at a public square in the capital on Dec. 29.

Iranian authorities have stated that the protests were organized via the popular smartphone app Telegram, pointing the finger at “counter-revolutionaries.” Meanwhile, the administration of President Hassan Rouhani believes that its conservative foes are the culprits behind the unrest.

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