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This is a digital-only ThinkIn.
Part one: Inside Iran: a new revolution?
When Iran’s rulers came to power after the 1979 revolution, they promised a prosperous economy, fair distribution of oil wealth and a democratic political system. But the following four decades of an oppressive theocratic regime, international sanctions and corrupt governance has left modern Iran in crisis and isolated from the west. Millions rely on handouts for fuel and food and poverty levels have soared.
As the chasm between the ageing clerics determined to remain in charge and younger protesters demanding change widens, there are signs that change could at least be in sight, if not reach. The nationwide demonstrations triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini have evolved into open calls for the downfall of the regime. A recent opinion poll among 158,000 people in Iran overwhelmingly showed Iranians rejecting the Islamic Republic.
Who are the voices that can help inspire change? Who are the people waiting to lead Iran into the future and what would the transfer of power look like?
Part two: The world and Iran: what can the west do?
Relations between Iran and the west are dire as Iranians keep up anti-government protests, while Tehran blames the west for fomenting the unrest. The regime is drawing ever closer to Russia, sending drones to Moscow to use against Ukraine. The US, the EU and the UK have all imposed sanctions on Iran in recent months – Britain has announced 50 new sanctions since Mahsa Amini’s death last September – and Europe and the UK are considering labelling Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organisation. Meanwhile, an Iranian TV news service recently suspended operations in London after staff were targeted by Tehran-backed operatives. What role can the international community play in supporting the push for change?
This ThinkIn is produced in collaboration with Kayhan Life, an independent media outlet focussing on Iranian economics, politics, culture and society.
editor and invited experts
Editor and Founder
MP, Liberal Party of Canada
CEO, Chatham House
Director National, Union for Democracy In Iran
Dr Shahriar Ahy
Politcal strategist and commentator
Councillor, Coventry City Council
Nazanin Afshin Jam
Human Rights Activist, author
Writer, Human Rights Activist