Will Iran’s counter revolution develop staying power?

Jan 2, 2018 2:26 a.m. — Nine people were killed overnight, Iranian state television reported, raising the overall death toll to more than 20 since the protests began last week.

Jan 1, 2018 Andrew Peek, U.S. State Department deputy assistant secretary for Iraq and Iran, tells VOA that there could be sanctions against those who are responsible for attacks against the protesters: “We’re considering a variety of options to hold those people accountable, including sanctions.”​

Few expect the protests in Iran to succeed, however, the legitimacy of the Islamic revolution is being challenged for the first time since 1979. The current rebellion appears very different from those seen in 1999 and 2009.If the past protests called for a reformation of the Islamic Republic established in 1979, some of the current slogans are calling for its overthrow.

Not too long ago, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Sultan, called for a reversal of 1979 and all that meant.

The protests of 1999 called for easing of the harsh clerical rule established after the Islamic Revolution overthrew the monarchy headed by the Shah of Iran in 1979. The failed protests exposed the severe limitations of an elected president, Mohammed Khatami, vis a vis the ‘supreme leader’—Ayatollah Khamaeni—who sits at the top of the clerical rule and holds all the reins of power.

In 2009, the protests led by the ‘Green Movement’ were sparked by anger at the perceived manipulation of presidential election results against the reformist candidates and in favor of the incumbent president, Mohammed Ahmadinejad. Despite support from the reformist factions, supreme leader prevailed again over the protestors by declaring Ahmadinejad as President.

A longer-term challenge to the regional order produced in the Middle East in 1979 may have begun on both sides of the Gulf in 2017.