The Islamic Republic’s brutal crackdown on the peaceful protests, coupled with the West’s strategic and moral inaction, gave Iranians no choice but to leave the streets and return to the misery of the status quo, their hopes shattered. According to the Human Rights House of Iran, the regime has arrested more than 1,250 people over the past year for demonstrating or for their political views. But as popular revolts have swept across the Middle East, Iranians have been reinvigorated, participating in the largest demonstrations since summer 2009, albeit on a lesser scale than elsewhere in the region.
Iranians have gained inspiration from the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia and protestors have been heard chanting “Mubarak, Ben Ali, by the new year Sayyed Ali!” referring to their own supreme leader, Sayyed Ali Khamenei. The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, like the crises in Libya and other Arab countries, have allowed Iran to fade from people’s consciousness, and for the regime to escape scrutiny. (…)
The Arab Spring is unlikely to morph into a Persian Summer given the significant differences between Iran and Tunisia and Egypt. However, we in the West should offer as much moral encouragement as possible to all those who desire and are working for freedom.