(Persia Digest) – A Moderate conservative researcher in Iran believes: “The IR of Iran has shown that it will air its grievances through legal channels. Therefore, open protest channels will not lead to regime change, even under economic pressures and severe sanctions.”

Moderate conservative researcher, Abbas Salimi-Namin, told Persia Digest (PD) in an interview: “Around 5000 protest rallies took place by workers in Iran in 2016 for their wage arrears and those who had lost their investments in credit institutes. The system is based on recognizing these grievances and allowing for legitimate legal claims. There was no clash with the protesters and they were even provided with the chance to air their protests. This was a big change in Iran, taking the country into a new phase of political development.”

He continued: “In this new mechanism, certain groups believed in 2017 that they can usurp the situation and took action to bring a few people into the streets alongside those who had legitimate economic claims. The leaders of these groups were in the US and they invited their followers to commit civil disobedience and destruction. But, as they had no legal claims, their moves quickly disintegrated and those with real claims also distanced themselves from these groups.”

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Salimi-Namin said the events had no real consequences for any political factions in Iran, reiterating: “The unrests of last December were aimed at the two major political factions in Iran operating within the law – that is the concurrent rejection of both conservatives and reformists. Thus, it is difficult to find a popular base when you are rejecting both parties with a major base of millions. The people will certainly not give their support to an unknown current led by a showman who has fled the country.”

This political analyst reiterated: “The sustainability of a movement requires the support of the people which takes time. What happened in December 2017 targeted the entire system and no one particular faction.”

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Speaking about whether economic pressures imposed by the sanctions can lead to new unrests in Iran, he said: “It is a possibility; but society gains new experiences in every event. Iranians gained a new wisdom from the events of last December and this gives them immunity. The US can budget more to create similar events, but this would be futile. Such spending will not lead to serious movements and can only be evaluated on a small scale; ten cities were affected last year. But a serious move takes place by attracting a significant numbers of people who claim a right. Such moves will not lead to regime change.”

Salimi-Namin emphasized: “Continued protests can only last for logical reasons. Otherwise, groups of thugs can be paid to come onto the streets. Presently, protests by the “Haft Tappeh” sugar cane factory workers are taking their legal course and we witnessed that governmental organizations tried to find solutions for it. If the government blocks the path to airing grievances, this can lead to a serious movement; but the IR of Iran has shown that it wants to institutionalize protests through legal channels. Finally, slogans in support of Reza Khan or Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi cannot be commended by the intellectual and logical elements of society.”

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