Daily Archives: December 30, 2009

Gideon Rachman

The new outbreak of protests and repression in Iran have got me looking back at what I wrote in June, at the time of the presidential election. My first column was called “Democracy can still win in Iran“. The second was “Check-List for an Iranian revolution“. I think both are still valid. In the second column, I argued three things essentially. First that Iran met many of the pre-conditions for a successful revolution. Second, that the government had crossed a line – and possibly doomed itself -  by killing demonstrators in the streets. And finally that the precedent of the Iranian revolution of 1979 suggested that events would take some time to play out because “it took more than a year of sustained unrest to topple the Shah.”

It’s that last point that would be worrying me, if I were part of the Iranian establishment. The pattern of 1978-79 in Iran was that unrest would die down for a while and then flare up again, gradually gathering unstoppable momentum, as the months passed. As the FT reports this morning, there are plenty of religious and national holidays coming up- not to mention funerals of demonstrators – that will give the opposition the scope to get people out on the streets again. Read more