The politics of hope: a nation’s patience tested
- Ali Tehrani, Azadeh Pourzand
- Content Type
- Journal Article
- Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
- Issue Number
- Publication Date
- The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
- Winter 2019 marked the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. The
anniversary celebrations occurred in the midst of a difficult era of socio-economic
turmoil, the return ofَ U.S. sanctions, and deepening political infighting in the Islamic
Republic. Tensions between the government and the people are especially high. The
tectonic plates of social change have been shifting below the surface in Iran over the past
two decades, with major discontent erupting in the past year.
While the country’s political facade appears largely unchanged, tensions and
fragmentations among the ruling elite have deepened. Economic conditions are fast
deteriorating for the average citizen, while political repression remains a harsh reality.
Iran’s citizens, who have clung to hope and the possibility for change through decades of
domestic repression and isolation from the global economy, struggle to remain hopeful.
Collective fatigue stemming from years of isolation from the global economy, as well as
domestic economic hardship, compounds the disappointment Iranians feel from
unfulfilled political promises. The Iranian government has repeatedly failed to carry out
promised reforms; in recent years alone, President Hassan Rouhani has
proven unable to carry out his promises to “open up Iran politically, ease rigid social
restrictions and address human rights abuses.” As this situation continues, Iran risks
despair and chaos.
- Government, Politics, Social Movement, Sanctions, Nuclear Power, Reform, Economy, Memory
- Political Geography
- Iran, Middle East