End-of-year protests in Iran began December 28 out of anger at prices, unemployment, and back-pay due factory workers. By Friday, December 29, those protests had spread geographically and the list of expressed grievances was growing thematically.
Videos available on social media showed protestors chanting, “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran.” Gaza is the territory in southwest Israel self-governed by Palestinians. Lebanon has long been a sandlot where the major power players in the region have backed contending factions and militia. Iran is there the sponsor of Hezbollah. The chant was symptomatic of discontent in Iran, the view that its leadership is more interested in projecting power abroad than in solving the troubles faced by the people at home.
The Thing to Know:
In those early days of protest, official and semi-official media in Iran portrayed authorities as tolerant, though provoked by trouble-makers, and as (thus far) allowing them to have their say.