Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters

For the past several days, Iranians have protested in some 90 cities around the country. While this has been noted as a rare event, which it is, a modicum of protest has been a recurring feature of the Islamic Republic’s recent past. I wanted to understand how the current round of demonstrations lines up with the country’s history of dissent, so I spoke to experts in Iranian political history and democratic movements. What I found is that the tensions that have allowed protests to erupt regularly in Iran’s theocratic autocracy go back to the founding of the Islamic Republic.


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