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It’s Not Over Yet

There are more riots in Iran.

“TEHRAN, Iran — Tens of thousands of students, many shouting “Death to the Dictator!” and burning pictures of Iran’s supreme leader, took to the streets on more than a dozen campuses Monday in the biggest anti-government protests in months.

‘Death to the oppressor, whether it’s the shah or the leader!’ the students chanted, according to witnesses — making a daring comparison between Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the pro-U.S. shah, despised in Iran since his overthrow in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.”

That chant is particularly interesting since it indicates that Khameini is now seem as the same sort of head-of-state that was deposed back in ’79.  This also seems to reject Slavoj Zizek’s assertion that the current trouble in Iran is a return to the roots of the revolution of ’79.  Rather it seems like the Islamic Revolution, having created a dictator so similar to the disgraced and despised shah, may be on its last legs.  Perhaps I’m missing something, but it seems likely that, should a new revolution occur, it may look like the ’79 coup, but that such appearances will be misleading.

This isn’t to say it will be radically different, but any new revolution will, of necessity, be a rejection of the powers of the old.  Out will go the Supreme Leader and in will come a different sort of power structure.  Mind, it’s almost guaranteed to be equally theocratic.  Whether or not it will fall back into the old patterns of faith-based oppression, however, would be an open question.  The current unrest is driven by forces that, while hardly liberal in any Western sense of the term, are certainly reformist in nature.

Of course, what those reforms will bring, if anything, remains to be seen.

Posted in Politics.