Iran’s interior minister has tried to downplay the threat from protests by various groups in the past year, insisting that none of them were organized by political groups or unions.
Major protests rocked Iran between December 28, 2017 and early January 2018. Later, there were mass protests in June and August, in addition to crippling strikes by truckers, bazaar merchants and industrial workers in various parts of the country.
Speaking in the southern city of Bushehr on December 27, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli claimed that people were alert and would not follow any organized effort to destabilize the country.
Rahmani Fazli also argued that countries opposed to the Islamic Republic make the “wrong” analysis about protests in Iran, “but none of these events threaten national security”.
President Hassan Rouhani’s minister added, “Enemies made the same wrong analysis in 2009”, but the authorities, “relying on the guarantee” of legitimacy and the people's "awareness" made the right “political and security” decisions and managed the situation.
After the controversial presidential elections in 2009, Iran witnessed huge protests against the decision to declare Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the winner. The authorities reacted with brute and overwhelming force against protesters, killing dozens and arresting thousands. Several detainees later died in custody and thousands of young and educated people left the country.
Prominent political personalities have been increasingly vocal in Iran about the precarious situation of the country and the ruling system, saying that mainly brute force keeps the Islamic Republic alive and have compared it to the “Titanic”.