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What’s Up in Iran? #Iranprotests

What’s Up in Iran? <a class="hashtagger" href="">#Iranprotests</a>

The amount of “West-phobia” in Iran could well contribute to the people’s willingness to find a Western plot behind everything that happens in their neighborhood.

The recent history of the Balkans, Turkey, the Middle East, and of course North Africa clearly provides sound evidence to support suspicions of a “foreign hand” in most problematic situations.

This phobia has been fed by the “Balkan syndrome,” the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, the Sevres Treaty’s contribution to the rise of Arab nationalism and the imposition of artificial borders following the First World War, to say nothing of the more recent “Arab Spring,” together with the Iraq, Libya and Syria “operations,” carried out by the “alliance of the willing.”

Despite the obvious failure of the utopian dream to bring democracy to the Arab lands through a wave of “emotional revolutions,” does the Middle East face yet another eruption, this time a “Persian Spring?”

Some of course would claim that the “Turkish Spring” has been in the pipeline since as early as 2013, and that Iran will have to remain patient. While efforts for the “Turkish Spring” have failed, as the 2013 Gezi protests were unable to help unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the “Persian spring” has been given the go ahead.

Former Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, who has kept silent since his forced resignation under Erdoğan’s orders, has been back on twitter with a “very clever” message. He claims that although the “order” of the “spring fashion” appears different, when the “Turkish Spring” collapsed in Gezi Park in 2013, the orchestrators decided to prioritize a “Persian Spring” instead. Could that be the case?

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Recent events in Iran can be described as some sort of “postmodern coup” attempt fueled by the high cost of living and strong discontent with the performance of President Hassan Rouhani’s government. Slogans chanted by the crowds against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei demonstrate that the situation in Iran is far different and probably more serious than the 2009 uprising.

Of course, the government could well subdue the current unrest and stifle the Iranian people again, though the regime of the mullahs might soon face the same destiny of the former shah.

Could the shah have stayed on with the help of excessive force, iron-fist policies, all kinds of torture, oppression and tyrannical measures applied to the opposition and the Islamists? Once the people decide to shape their own destiny rather than bow before a privileged, greedy elite composed of religious men, audacious politicians, corrupt bureaucrats and accomplices of all sorts, no shah or mullah can stand in their way.

Ali Hosseini Khamenei is a “marja,” a Grand Ayatollah with the authority to make legal decisions within the confines of Islamic law, and the second Supreme Leader of Iran, and he entered office in 1989. If even he is liable to be attacked by protestors, it ought to be clear that Iranians are rebelling not only against the government, but against the Islamic revolution of Ayatollah Khamenei…

Khamenei claims that “enemies” of the Islamic republic have stirred up trouble in the country with the aim of pushing Iran into a civil war. His statements show that the leader would rather boost his membership of the “West-phobia” club than analyze failings in his administration.

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His assertion, however, has found support in the not-so-intelligent remarks of the White House as well as some leading Western politicians expressing their support of the Iranian demonstrators.

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About The Author

Yusuf Kanli

Born in Cyprus in 1959, Yusuf Kanlı is a graduate of the English Language and Literature Department of the Faculty of Letters of the Ankara University. He started journalism with the Turkish Daily News in 1978. Until he briefly left the paper in 1985 (for military service in Northern Cyprus) he served as diplomatic correspondent, assistant foreign news editor and assistant editor. During this period he was as well one of the two co-authors of an annual reference book on Turkey, “Turkey Almanac”. After completing his military service he returned the Daily News as assistant editor. In 1989 he became executive editor and also started writing daily opinion articles. He continued to be one of the co-authors of the “Turkey Almanac” annual reference book. In February 1993, over differences with the publisher on editorial policy, he quit the paper and joined the Anatolia News Agency (AA) as deputy foreign news chief. He stayed with the Anatolia News Agency until September 1995. In this period, he covered the Armenia-Azerbaijan war over Nogorno-Karabagh, covered developments in the post-independence Central Asian republics. Because of his refusal as the duty editor to run a manipulated news story demanded by the then lady prime minister of the country, he was fired from the AA, a development that Kanlı considers as his “medal of honor” in the profession. On his return to the Daily News for a third time in October 1995, he first became an editor at large but soon assumed the responsibility of electronic publishing and established Turkey’s first daily updated English language news web site, the TDN Online on May 19, 1996 (now In January 1997, he became executive editor of the Daily News for a second time and stayed in that post until he was appointed as editor-in-chief in June 2004. In February 2007, he quit all executive duties and became a contract columnist of the newspaper. He has been also writing weekly articles in Turkish for a variety of newspapers and news portals in Northern Cyprus. He is a former chairperson and the honorary chairperson of Diplomacy Correspondents Association (DMD) of Turkey, an active member of Association of Foreign Policy Council, a member of the executive board and vice chairperson of the Association of Journalists and coordinator of the Press for Freedom project, which has been monitoring and reporting on press and freedom of expression issues in Turkey since 2013. He has been a member of several associations and foundations, mostly established by Turkish Cypriots living in Turkey or abroad. He is married to Dr. Aydan Kanlı and has one daughter, Cansu. He has Turkish, Turkish Cypriot and Cypriot triple nationality.

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