London, 04 Feb – Celebrations for the 39th anniversary of the 1979 revolution have begun, less than a month after an uprising began in the holy city of Mashhad and spread across the nation, calling for regime change.
The recent unrest is different in quality to the ones that have gone before. These protesters rejected reform from within — they called for overthrow of the system.
During his campaign, Hassan Rouhani, “re-elected” as president last spring, promised change, both internal and international. The public, however, seem to feel he has failed, and that meaningful change will not come.
Ordinary Iranians have given up hope. They are dealing with a crumbling economy, unemployment, and suppression by the regime’s police. An Arab News article reads, “Nearly four decades after the revolution, ordinary Iranians have lost their trust and confidence in a system that has brought them nothing but institutional corruption, international isolation and economic ruin.”
On February 1st, celebrations begin, and continue for 10 days, marking the time between Khomeini’s return to Iran in 1979 and the revolution 10 days later.
President Rouhani, speaking from Khomeini’s tomb last week said, “If the system doesn’t hear the people’s voice of criticism and protest, it will be too late.” It is believed that he was speaking indirectly to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Despite Rouhani’s remarks, many Iranians believe it is already too late. They thought that the revolution would bring justice and freedom. Now that a nationwide uprising is going on even superficial changes, such as easing the rules on the compulsory hijab, or providing spaces in which people can peacefully protest, are not possible with this regime.
Iranians are calling for freedom, and they want to fight corruption. Iranians no longer want reform — in their ongoing uprising they are calling for regime change.