As authoritarian governments fall throughout the Middle East, one has to wonder: why has the Iranian government been so insulated from public pressure to reform? Many forget that in 2009, Iranians demonstrated en masse in protest of the perceived fraudulent reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Those protests were met with incredible brutality and international condemnation. In many ways, the reaction contributed to the consolidation of conservative power in Iran’s factional political scene. Then and now, the government has been one step ahead of the Iranian opposition.
The prospects of both mass protests and serious reform in Iran are bleak, especially as Iran finds itself under increasing international pressure, coupled with regional uncertainty. However, earlier today, Radio Free Europe drew attention to one protest captured on video in the northeastern city of Neishapour. In this video, protestors chant “Death to high prices,” a symptom of growing displeasure with high food prices: