Will Iran’s Regime Survive?


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Protests have rocked Iran for nine weeks, despite a violent crackdown by the country’s security services. The demonstrations erupted in mid-September after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman, was detained by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly. She was reportedly beaten, fell into a coma, and died days later. The public responded to her death with grief and outrage, and over the last several weeks the protests have evolved into a much broader movement against the country’s leaders. As Iran’s regime grapples with these internal threats to its power, it is sending weapons to Russia to use in Ukraine and continuing to wield its influence around the Middle East.

Earlier this year, Karim Sadjadpour, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, argued in Foreign Affairs that Iran’s foreign exploits were coming at great cost at home. “Ultimately,” he wrote, “the Islamic Republic’s grand strategy will be defeated not by the United States or Israel but by the people of Iran, who have paid the highest price for it.”

We discuss whether Iran’s regime will survive this wave of protests, whether reform is possible, and the nature of Iran’s relationship with Russia and China.

You can find transcripts and more episodes of The Foreign Affairs Interview at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/podcasts/foreign-affairs-interview.

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