Protests in Iran: Maybe not the Tocqueville Paradox

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In mid-September of this year, a young Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini died under suspicious circumstances after her arrest by the morality police for improperly covering her hair. Her death set off a huge wave of protests across Iran – the biggest in many years. The protesters’ rallying cry was “Women, Life, Freedom,” and women have indeed taken a prominent role in the demonstrations that followed Amini’s death.

This week on International Horizons, John Torpey talks with Ali Ansari about the protests in Iran, their ideological basis, and the interplay between state and religion in the desires of the population. Moreover, Ansari discusses the reasons why Iran supports Russia in the war on Ukraine, and how this support has boosted the attention on the protests, converting them into a transnational phenomenon. Ansari also compares the health of the Iranian and the Chinese regimes in the middle of the protests and concludes that the dire social and economic situation of the Iranian people has made them fearless and defiant of the status quo, whereas China's CCP has more leverage.

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