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Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif took to Twitter this past weekend in an effort to downplay the seriousness of longstanding anti-government protests and the democratic movement for change.
Addressing the social network’s CEO Jack Dorsey, Zarif claimed that even though regime-affiliated accounts had recently been purged from the site, the “actual bots” are located in Albania, where more than 2,000 members of the leading Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) have resided since 2016, when they were relocated from their refugee community in Iraq.
Zarif - Remarks - Shah - Iran - Verge
Zarif’s remarks are reminiscent of what transpired in 1978 when the Shah of Iran was on the verge of overthrow at the hands of a broadly popular uprising. As part of a desperate bid to suppress the public calls for the regime’s overthrow, martial law was declared in hopes it would effectively stop the Iranian people from gathering in the streets to express contempt for their repressive and self-serving government.
The strategy did not work, but regime propaganda suggested otherwise and projected an image of strength by downplaying the size of the ongoing protests.
December - General - Gholamreza - Azhari - Statement
In December 1978, General Gholamreza Azhari made a public statement acknowledging the sounds of people chanting slogans against the government were just a tape recording. This, of course, was untrue.
The evening following the release of Azhari’s statement, Iranians poured into the streets and made a coordinated demonstration of stamping their feet and chanting, “Stupid general, tapes do not have feet!”
Movement - Demonstration - Shah - Power - Success
The broader movement behind that demonstration was successful in driving the Shah from power, but it was a limited success, ultimately co-opted by the theocratic faction associated with Ayatollah Khomeini, contrary to the democratic aspirations of the vast majority of Iranians. This set the country on the long road toward its current situation, where people are agitating once against for the ouster of...
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