There's a Newfound Respect for the Public in Iranian Politics

Mar 23, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
A cutout without a face stands in Karim Khan Castle in Shiraz, Iran.

A cutout without a face stands in Karim Khan Castle in Shiraz, Iran. 

(JOHN MOORE/Getty Images)

Iran's leaders successfully weathered the hurricane, but the storm clouds seem to be perpetually gathering on the horizon. Citizens poured onto the streets around the country at the beginning of 2018 to protest a variety of issues, especially their economic lot, but also political and social problems. And while the surge of demonstrations has since ended, demands for reforms continue to nag leaders in Tehran. This public pressure, which has affected Iran's unelected and elected institutions alike, has become pronounced enough that President Hassan Rouhani alluded last month to the possibility of a popular referendum to “heal” Iran's internal crisis. The referendum call highlighted the government's awareness of the importance of heeding the demands of citizens. Amid the various economic issues, which run the gamut from high unemployment and underemployment to economic uncertainty, inflation and poor infrastructure, Rouhani has shown signs of opening up on two particular galvanizing issues – women's...

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