As anti-government riots continue for the fifth day, Iran needs to take urgent action to pacify its citizens. While the state seems to have shown restrain by standards of middle east, at least 14 people and one policeman have lost their lives. With more than 400 protesters behind bars, President Hassan Rouhani’s government seem to be on shaky grounds.
While blaming ‘foreign powers’ Rouhani has admitted “Not all of the protesters are guided by foreign elements; a number of them are the people who came to the streets because of their problems.”
As per the Tehran times the protests first started in Mashhad and then spread to certain other cities in the country.Reportedly, the rally in Mashhad was in protest to the failure of some financial institutes which have gone bankrupt and failed to pay back the depositors’ money.
Masses in Iran had hoped that the nuclear deal, and the following lifting of many international sanctions, would ease common man’s financial struggles.Instead the cost of living continues to remain high and benefits of the economic expansion have not really trickled down.
What matters more to India is that a failure of state in Iran can potentially suck our entire neighborhood into a Shia-Sunni conflict. The Saudi led Sunni bloc which which openly identifies Iran as an enemy, will loose no time in arming the opponents to the Shia regime. The was in such cases may also spill over to Pakistan and Afghanistan over the porous borders.
Then there is the question of Indian access to Central Asia. The Large mineral wealth of the ex soviet republics remains untapped as Afghanistan boils and Iran remains close to business. Some of the world’s largest reserves of rare earth elements will need a stable Iran to make it to the upcoming battery driven world and specially for a greener India. Then there is scope of a larger violence in Pakistan. A Shia Sunni split across the borders borders of Baluchistan can redefine Pakistan’s army and will be a challenge to its leadership. The domino effect may destabilize regimes from Lebanon to Qatar to Pakistan. None of which will be in anyone’s favour.
While Iranian leadership understands the expectations that they need to meet its for the international community and India to help stability fo the country any which way it can.