By Micah HalpernI've Been Thinking:
There are signs of revolution in Iran.
Every year since 2009, a series of rallies take place in various cities throughout the Islamic Republic. The rallies commemorate the Green Revolution that almost ousted the theocracy.
This year is different.
The rallies are becoming protests. They pop up with more and more people, thousands and sometimes even tens of thousands, in attendance. They pop up simultaneously in dozens of cities and towns, big and small, across Iran.
Watching videos of the rallies is impressive. Throngs of mostly young Iranian males are gathering and Iranian leadership is not pleased. Iran is attempting to stop the social media that promotes and then proudly showcases the events.
An interesting twist is that Iranian President Rhouhani spoke and said that Iran needs to focus on economics and internal issues, not Syria and Palestine. The president said that the real enemy of Iran is not the U.S. or Israel but is economics and the local issues surrounding Iran. By that he means Saudi Arabia.
This move away from tradition, propelled by the Iranian masses, may be just the opportunity Rhouhani needs. If he can grab on and ride the wave he may be able to move Iran in the direction he promised to take.
In the meantime, however, thousands of rally attendees have been arrested. Police are showing some restraint and not attacking the protesters, just arresting them. The demonstrators are shouting for economic opportunity.
Women in burkas have taken to the streets, as well. In their own separate, rallies, they too are asking for economic change.
In the next few days we will be able to determine if this is a massive movement or a passing fad.
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