The Moral Economy of the Iranian Protests
Beset by inequality and corruption, Iran's provincial working classes are revolting against the revolution's broken promises

Ehsani, Kaveh; Keshavarzian, Arang

Publisher:  Jacobin
Year Published:  2018  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX22456

A look at the root causes of the widespread protests that have been taking place, primarily in provincial towns, throughout Iran. Persistent unemployment and inflation, overdue wages and pensions, environmental degradation, and ponzi schemes are a far cry from the social justice vision that animated and united the revolutionary forces of 1979.



These man-made disasters are replicated across the country. Highways, oil refineries, cement factories, steel mills, mines, and other big projects are built in the name of development and economic independence. But almost without exception, their workers go unpaid for months, endure hazardous work conditions, have no job security or stable benefits, and are repressed when they attempt to organize or voice their grievances. A seemingly endless string of visible disasters contributes to moral outrage: the drying of the country’s largest lake, Lake Rezaiyeh, due to over-irrigation; the collapse of an iconic high-rise in Tehran and a mine disaster in the northeast that took the lives of dozens of firemen and miners respectively. Virtually every node of recent protests has a similar story to tell.

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