On December 28, 2017, massive popular protests erupted in the Islamic Republic of Iran, starting in Mashhad before engulfing more than eighty cities and towns across the country. While the protests were primarily triggered by economic grievances, the demonstrators took aim at the regime and its policies, which they blamed for impoverishing the nation and wasting its wealth by pursuing foreign interventions.
Within two weeks, the regime had successfully suppressed the protests, yet this has only delayed the problem. Unless the grievances that drove people to the streets are addressed, and their demands and concerns met, the threat of similar protests will remain and the feelings of discontent and resentment against the ruling elite will intensify, deepening the crisis in the country.
This paper reveals the nature of the chronic structural crises experienced by the Iranian regime and proceeds to explore the competing powers and conflicting interests and visions within the regime. The paper also analyzes the inspiration for the recent protests, and determines likely future developments and scenarios.