President Hassan Rouhani has called on Iranians to rally today, marking the 39th anniversary of the overthrow of the shah.
The demonstrations will celebrate the Islamic Republic which replaced the monarchy, in stark contrast to anti-government protests that rocked Iran at this year’s onset. Those protests, motivated primarily by economic discontent, tapered off in mid-January as a crackdown saw over 1,000 demonstrators arrested and 25 killed.
However, the Iranian government cannot ignore the underlying economic dissatisfaction, which Rouhani has acknowledged. An area ripe for reform is Iran’s financial system, which Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has called “problematic”. Beyond economics, the government could also look at social policy, with Rouhani having published a report showing half the population opposes women’s compulsory wearing of headscarves.
Rouhani will likely be hoping for a morale boost from today’s pro-government rallies. However, they will do little to ameliorate Iranian’s economic woes unless the rallies are followed by reforms.
Delve Deeper: Iranian protests: a one-off occurrence or more to come?
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Nicholas is an Italian politics aficionado. Nick brings his knowledge of southern Europe to bear in The Daily Brief team, where he serves as a senior analyst and editor.