Since 28 December 2017, Iran has been witnessing a wave of protests in more than eighty cities. The protests have expanded to far flung corners of the country, from Mashad, the second largest city in Iran, to Shahin shar in Isfahan Province to Bukan in North Western region of the country. The state security forces have been deployed to quell the protests, and at least twenty-one people have been killed while more than 2000 people including ninety student activists, and labor organizers have also been arrested.
These protests have surprised many and have led to an array of questions such as: What are the origins of the current discontent? Who are these people who up to recently had been invisible to Iran watchers, analysts, and the western media? What are the implications for the regime? Shahram Aghamir speaks with professor Arang Keshavrazian about the deep-seated economic, environmental and political grievances driving the discontent of the Iranian people, and especially the tens of millions who are struggling to make ends meet. Professor Arang Keshvarizan argues that one needs to examine larger historical trends, and the impacts of three decades of neo-liberal economic policies in order to understand the latest round of protests.