Iran’s rhetoric takes a surprising turn

Commentary Materials 12 February 2018 14:48 (UTC +04:00)
Iran's official position has taken an unexpected turn.
Iran’s rhetoric takes a surprising turn

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 12

By Azer Ahmadbayli – Trend:

Transition of Iran’s official position about its “malign activities” from “it is not negotiable under any circumstances” to “make the deal a successful experience and then we discuss other issues” has come out of the blue.

The US and its European allies should ensure the nuclear deal is a success before demanding to negotiate other issues such as Iran’s regional activities or a ballistic missile program, Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqhchi said, Reuters reported.

“Now they ask Iran to enter discussions on other issues. Our answer is clear: make the deal a successful experience and then we discuss other issues,” Abbas Araqhchi said.

Until a few weeks ago Iranian top officials firmly said the Iranian missile program is not negotiable at all. Now, the possibility has surfaced. There must be a really good reason for such change of mind.

Since the very late of last year, two waves has swept across Iran – a bigger one, which was popular protests with demand to change things in the country, and a smaller one, being women’s public protests against the compulsory dress-code law.

It turns out, there has been a related third wave – but this time on social networks – which, nevertheless, seems to be the most unpleasant and dangerous one for the Iranian authorities.

A new public campaign among Iranians on social media began after remarks made by Iran’s former reformist President Mohammad Khatami that people of Iran didn’t support overthrow of current political system but they insisted only on reforms.

Straight after the comments, a ‘#barandazam’ hashtag meaning “I overthrow” has appeared on social media platforms, gaining prominence and rising in number.

The paper inside the suitcase reads ‘down with dictator’ and ‘#Barandazam’

No one counted how many people joined the campaign. However, in times when Iran marks the 39th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, a split occurred between the reformist wing of Iranian leadership and its numerous supporters, a part of whom do not even see sense in conducting reforms within the current political system.

“Under such conditions, it is natural that the lower classes, who were the grassroots supporters of the Islamic Revolution, will turn into a gunpowder barrel,” Mehdi Karroubi, an Iranian opposition leader who has been kept under house arrest over the past years told Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei through an open letter.

It’s for the first time when not only a handful of people call into question the existing system of governance. This seems to shake the system of checks and balances that for years provided the necessary safeguard for the ruling power.

There are also numerous appeals in social networks, which might pose a serious threat to the country’s financial stability if they become widespread.

The screenshot above shows a Facebook page with over 40,000 followers encouraging people to pull out their money from the country’s bank accounts.

“I was in a bank today to pull out my money. It was so tough. They did not want to pay cash. They told me that bank was out of cash… I eventually managed to pull out a part of my money. Ask people to pull out their money from banks,” one user wrote on Facebook on Feb.7.

The nation’s leadership should do something urgently to calm down the protest mood among the population. Maybe, it’s what makes official Tehran talk about things previously not being subject to discussion.