Iran’s Protesters Want Regime Change

On September 2022, Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian, died in police custody after being detained for ostensibly wearing a hijab improperly. Amini was not the first woman to be arrested nor was she the first person killed by the police. Her death, however, ignited a protest movement that gave voice to public anger and frustration that had been building for months. Farmers had been complaining about the lack of water, students about the lack of freedom, teachers about the lack of pay, and retirees about the lack of benefits. In 2020, we argued in Foreign Affairs that Iran’s Islamic Republic was weaker than many Western analysts and policymakers thought. Today’s protests suggest we were right. The Islamic Republic is resilient but not impervious to the social forces at work in Iranian society…

Amb. Eric Edelman serves as Counselor to JINSA’s Gemunder Center for Defense & Strategy and Co-Chair of its Iran Policy Project and Eastern Mediterranean Policy Project. He served as U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy from 2005 to 2009. Dr. Ray Takeyh is a member of JINSA’s Gemunder Center’s Iran Policy Project, Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of The Last Shah: America, Iran, and the Fall of the Pahlavi Dynasty.

Originally published in Foreign Affairs.