Iran’s Protests and Economic Realities

Iran’s hardline regime has cracked down on opposition protests in the wake of sweeping regional protests following revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. Internal economic and political pressures, as well as a new wave of international sanctions against Iran, have prompted questions about how long the Iranian regime can hold onto power. But the Brookings Institution’s Suzanne Maloney says a number of factors work in the regime’s favor, including the Iranian military’s greater ability to repress the public and its allegiance to the regime; an ability to block the public’s access to technology; and opposition leaders’ loyalty to the idea of preserving an Islamic Republic. International sanctions have also increased domestic political support for needed economic reforms that may actually strengthen the Iranian regime’s hold on power, she says. Maloney notes that, unlike in Egypt, heavy reliance on public sector jobs has dampened public support for political upheaval. “When your job comes from the state, it’s much more difficult to go out to the streets because you risk losing your livelihood as well as endangering your own safety.”

There have been a flurry of comparisons between Egypt and Iran. Considering these, is Iran also ready to fall?

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