Inside Iran: what’s next? | The Economist

Iran’s leaders are facing unprecedented pressure from abroad and at home When an American drone assassinated General Qassem Suleimani… …it sent shockwaves around the world Not only was he Iran’s most senior military commander… …he was also a legend within his own country Iran’s regime vowed bloody vengeance But its immediate retaliation seemed designed to avoid escalation It fired missiles into two Iraqi bases, which host American soldiers… On Iranian TV it claimed to have caused great damage… …in reality the missiles killed no one But then Iran made a horrific blunder Its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps… …mistook a Ukrainian passenger jet for a missile and shot it down Everyone on board died, including 82 Iranians The disaster, and the way it was handled… …has sparked widespread anti-government protests in Iran It has also exposed cracks in the country’s theocratic regime Immediately after the crash… …Iran’s government said that it was caused by a mechanical failure They didn’t admit that it was, in fact, an Iranian missile… …that had shot it down until the weight of evidence from overseas… …made it impossible for them to deny this fact Three days later the Revolutionary Guard issued a statement… …admitting the mistake and the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani… …confirmed it on Twitter You’ve seen a surge of fury inside Iran You’ve seen people coming out into the streets to demonstrate… …even at the risk of being forcibly dispersed and even shot at You’ve seen artists and sports people saying they no longer wish… …to be under the Iranian flag You’ve seen newspapers apologising to their readers… …for having spread the lies of the government for so long Iran’s only female Olympic medallist, Kimia Alizadeh… …publicly defected from the country… …in a blistering Instagram attack on the regime… …in which she described herself as… …“one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran” Iranians have been dissatisfied with their government for a long time The economy is doing terribly Iran ought to be a reasonably well-off country It has a well-educated, sophisticated citizenry It has a lot of people who understand how to do business It has a millennia-old tradition of trading And yet, it’s doing absolutely terribly Now, this is partly the fault of sanctions that have been placed on the regime But it’s also because of the incompetence of the government Protesters rallied against the government in 2017 and 2019 in provincial cities The latest unrest began in Tehran, Iran’s capital, and has rippled outwards The kind of people that we’ve seen… …demonstrating against the government recently… …it’s different from the groups that we’ve seen before It’s a wider selection of people and it includes a lot more established… …sort of middle-class people They’re fed up with their government’s incompetence… …with its brutality and with its endless banging of drums for war… …when many people feel that it should be concentrating on… …the appalling state of the Iranian economy Prominent members of Iran’s parliament have retired… …and there are calls for President Rouhani to resign However, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader… …remains unrepentant The goings on inside the Iranian regime are completely non-transparent… …and it’s very hard to tell which faction is up… …who’s fighting against whom and who’s likely to end up in control… …when the ageing Ayatollah Khamenei ultimately dies But one thing is certain, the regime is very unsettled by this… …and by the reaction to it The plane disaster, together with the economic gloom… …has tarnished the credibility of the Islamic regime So what are Iran’s next steps? Its leaders are clearly worried… …but they show no sign of giving in to the protesters Many Iranians are reaching the end of their patience with their rulers That doesn’t mean the regime is going to fall straight away Regimes that are prepared to shoot people, which this one is… …can last for a very long time The regime will do whatever it takes to keep its grip on power It will also continue to stir up trouble in the wider Middle East It will keep enriching uranium, which could be used to make a nuclear bomb And it will probably seek revenge for the death of Suleimani The most likely consequences include… …future covert, deniable assassinations by Iranian proxies in the Middle East That could be a soft target… …an American businessman, a Jewish diplomat More attacks on Americans might prompt President Trump… …to withdraw more American forces from the region If American troops were to pull out of Iraq… …the country would fall apart… …into squabbling Shia, Sunni, Arab and Kurdish factions… …and that Islamic State might come back in Iraq So that would be very risky Suleimani’s death has rattled the Iranian regime Ordinary Iranians are sick of their rulers wasting huge sums… …on foreign military adventures… …when the economic situation at home is so dire Suleimani’s legacy was to help make Iran a global pariah… …crushed by sanctions His death probably won’t change that

Stephen Childs


  1. US should be out of middle East,
    US is the biggest threat off global peace

  2. The pro government protesters are like millions. The anti government ones are a few hundred here and there. So this documentary is very misleading.

  3. Whoever sides with Iran Goverment is an allied to terrorism, you may have your differences with US but you can't deny who is the inhumane regime here.

  4. 11 us soldiers wounded, usa recognized that … but the economist, the globalist illuminati media is attacking iran …

  5. Media propaganda against Iran and nothing else..not more than 200 hundreds people are in protest..

  6. Iran is doing badly economically, because the U.S. and its puppet allies lied, to get them into the JCPOA all with the intent of never fulfilling its part of the agreement, all which piling unfair, illegal, and inhumane sanctions where even cancer patients and other terminally ill patients are not even spared. This is not analysis, or even an article, this is propaganda, the type you hear from the fox outlet. I always gave the economist more credit than it deserved, but this bit of propaganda shows me you're either willfully or not knowingly shaping peoples thoughts/opinions based on lies, or very negligible research. I am disappointed!!!

  7. Iran, please throw the Islamic Republic flag away

    You already have a flag from the Shah's time

    It's beautiful

  8. Next what? Iran destroyed themself, they were beautiful, rich country in Shah's regime
    Against US more?? Fools

  9. Islamic Revolution? US more sanctions hahaha
    Iran will die first not America
    I told the truth dont blame me

  10. Just overthrow, that supreme leader and his followers, everything will fall in line!
    Which of course, is an everest task, unless Iranians decide the future of their country.

  11. Atleast iranian people are awake. If iran retaliate america will take care of the regime

  12. There is a great deal of ambiguity around the downing of the plane over Tehran. The behaviour of this plane was extremely strange once in the air. The Ukrainian plane transponder as well as their communications systems cease to function minutes into the flight. The first missile seems not to hit the plane (warning). The pilot recognises that something is seriously wrong and tries to turn the plane around back towards Imam Khomeini airport. At no point, a mayday signal were sent to indicate stress or the planes intensions. As it begins to turn it seems to be moving towards high value targets. Earlier, that day engineering had spotted abnormalities with the plane and wanted to further inspect the plane. So, flight was delayed. The Ukrainian representative in Tehran started to place pressure on the airport authorities to approve flight. They shouldn’t have but reluctantly agreed. Once airborne minutes into the flight Iranians detected movements in US bases around Iran. At more or less the same time plane’s transponder stopped and no further communications was made. Presumably their signal disappeared on the radar too. The air-defence detects an identified projectile moving towards a high value target. And the rest is history.

  13. Hi
    Look I tall you some think from inside military
    The air crash was at perpes
    Same time it was few f35 fly at the Persian golf and Iranian know the can't put the down that why the shoot the air line
    For excuse the American f 35
    Look same accident was happin last years in syria
    When syria shot down the Russian airline

  14. People in Iran may not like their government but Iranians never kneel for corrupt western style so called democracy. They seen 1952 Western democracy imposed on them by CIA ans MI6.

  15. Iran's animosity towards America is a self defeating obsession. Sensible leaders would have sought to put it behind them and concentrated on developing as another wealthy gulf state at peace with the world.

  16. He said iraq would fall apart, LOL.
    How can it fall apart more?
    If US was there to stabilize
    the country it should have have stabilized long ago.

  17. *HOW MANY MISSILES does Iran have to fire against a Civilian jet filled with foreigners before the LIBERAL MEDIA say it was done on
    This was done shortly after Iran launched ballistic missiles against IRAQ, Iran expected America to attack them and would have
    blamed America for the plane IRAN SHOT DOWN.

  18. Very well put together publication and expresses exactly how the Iranian people feel about our disgustedly corrupt government. Another fact America doesn’t stabilize the Middle East, yet it’s causes nothing be trouble in the region. It’s all about we want your oil and we will pay you with weapons so you can defend yourself against your neighbours.

  19. After what they've done to the Middle East, especially to Iraq, I have zero sympathy.

  20. As long as Iran keeps bonding its government with its awful religion, it's not going to get anywhere. Look what the 'values' of Islam have done to the Middle East.

  21. US (government) is infact putting pressure on Iranian people by this brutal sanctions and claiming justice for the Iranians! Who out there doesn't know that US is doing this all for their own business benefits; what's better to point at than a crippled government not able to feed its own people. This is the problem with the West. Stop meddling with other regions for your own financial adventures. Enough!

  22. Let’s be clear, there are US sanctions on 700 Iranian targets including large industries and business leaders. Saying that the economy is doing poor as a result of not only sanctions but also the regimes mismanagement is a huge understatement. These sanctions and economic restrictions have the sole purpose of bringing the Iranian economy close to collapse.
    Also, considering the leaked US military documents that showed the lack of the state’s planning for the Iraqi invasion and occupation, it is strange to say that US troop withdrawal from IRAQ would cause the country to fall apart. Unless you consider IRAQ to be a stable and prosperous country right now.

    I’m honestly shocked @theeconomist

  23. Led by theocratic Islamist dictators Iraq is chained to the stone age they must break free the world is a great place they should try it ??

  24. Nothing will truly change until the Iranian people take up arms and throw the fundamental jihadist zealots out of power.

  25. Very brave. Not from the danger from Iran, but from the great divide in the West.

  26. سگ رید به روح مادر علی خامنهای کس کش و طرفداران بی ناموس او و ولایت وقیح و اسلام لعنتی.

  27. 'I mean, the warlike seige on the country may have a bit to do with the economy, but…"

  28. People don't get that majority of Iranians want the current government so instead of making up lies focus on your own corrupted governments starting with dump and the UK. UK and America have displaced, killed and destroyed countless countries. Iraq, Afghanistan,Syria, Libya,Yemen. Unjustified wars that killed millions and displaced over 7million people.
    Pointing your fingers at governments that Don t follow the Americans demands makes a terrorist.
    The biggest terrorist on this planet is the Americans that supported and formed al quda, supported and supplied Isis with weapons and of course supported and give the blind eye to Israel for killing and displacing plastinans.
    This just goes to show the double standards and the corruption from so called the nation's the represent human rights and freedom

  29. Another country being destroyed because it doesn't serves interests of American and western corporations

  30. This evil regime is cracked and will soon crumble. The US did the right thing killing Soleimani, a ruthless terrorist. Most Iranians are happy about his death.

  31. I'm quite disappointed, the economist use to be decent news: this is fake news. The general was a terrorist and active aggressor and mastermind of many attacks against not just the west but also against his own people: he was not a hero (unless you are a fellow terrorist). There were plenty of protests prior to the downing of the plain as well, the tyrannical leadership of Iran has been brutal in suppressing of those protests. Western media has too long supported terrorism in the name of diversity: you're corruption is plain to many.

  32. 0:46 just like the US Navy ship USS Vincennes thought that Iran Air 655 was an approaching F-14 Tomcat and dispatched everyone on-board to the underverse!!! Just saying that its necessary to give both breadth and depth to your perspective of "blunder".


  33. The economic situation isn’t because of the fault of sanctions, it is because of the success and results of them.

  34. iran islamic republic is a terrorist country and support terrorist organizations

  35. You liar! Charlatan why you not disclosing the recent pilgrimages of people for the support of their leaders and uncountable gathering of people of Friday prayer???

  36. Nice piece of propaganda. You have been trying this for 40 years and will never give up.

  37. Strikes me that all Iran needs is the right leader and it will be all over for the regime.

  38. No dumb man, its the opposite, if American troops leave from iraq, then Iraq will flourish in a great civilization, American regime is the reason for the chaos in every Iraq, Libya, Syria.

  39. I can tell you whats next , WE ARE SHIA WE STICK TOGETHER TO DEATH. , LABYAK YA HUSSIEN.

  40. Why don't US stay away from other countries? US is the reason behind all this anarchy… I would be happy if someone finally nuke US. In this way they will learn the lesson. US is kind of modern version of Britain.

  41. Qassem Suleimani was not a real General. According to an Ex-pat. It all started with Jimmy Carter.

  42. Suleimani estava indo à um encontro diplomático com representantes da Arábia Saudita, quando foi assassinado. A indústria bélica americana jamais deixaria um encontro assim acontecer. A paz não lhes interessa.

  43. Iran's problem : 30% sanction, 10% Trump fire, 60% the fckn khomenei and his circle

  44. They quote some who are dissatisfied with their government and want people to assume that majority of the people feel the same thing.I think most people in world hate american government more.

  45. The current regime isn't going to be around much longer.
    I just hope what comes next is better.

  46. I would n’t watch such a disgusting channel for the purpose of postgraduate entrance examination.

  47. The American and European governments are committing crimes against humanity on Iran by imposing sanctions on Iranian nation on the hope of people will change their government. The American and European sanctions are killing innocent children, men and women and I hope history will judge the American and European politicians to the crimes that they have been committing.

  48. Iranian cannot be easily provoked by the media that want your country to collapse. Five years ago, when Malaysia Airlines MH17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine, no one was demonstrating. All Iranians must unite.

  49. USA just let the middle east deal with their own problems. We got plenty of oil here at home

  50. Not even going to attempt to write an elaborate comment, such is the one-sided propagandist view of this movie. Expect more from the Economist

  51. Don't try to washing people mind any more. It was not enough war in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, and Syria and know trying to change the world mind to be accepted the next war Iran and Lebanon.

  52. No sir, any country of this world we live in could collapse under the conditions Iran is place today why…sanctions, crucially sanction but this is a country that has been around for 12000 years ..how old is the UK,US€$?…

  53. Lol…
    It is with these analytical ability that you get IRAN wrong every time.
    Every time..

  54. It was not a blunder. There are reports that it was a plot by Us that hampered with planes communications signals. Blame Trump for this sad incident.
    Your broadcast is biased.

  55. it is time for all the dictators in middle east to be removed in order for the muslims to be freed. at the same time, religious leaders cannot be allowed to get involved in any politics. when china becomes the global leader, china communist party will remove islam from the face of the earth.

  56. USA was the major sponsor and planner of ISIS. And now when Saudis and Iran wanted to de-escalate they have tried to ignite the flames of war again. It seems there is some truth to the slogan 'DEATH to AMERICA'.

  57. There are two Irans. One, a minority group of Islamists and their supporters containing no more than 15% of the country, and the other, a group of nationalists containing the rest. Don't be fooled by the Islamists. Stand behind the Iranian nationalists. They are your friends.

  58. And who planted the seed of hate between sunni, shia, Arab and Kurdish factions? Bigger question who created isis and who benefits from this mess of a situation? Here's a hint, it ain't uncle Sam, the Saudi regime, the zionists or the military industrial complex.

  59. There literally hasn't been in a protest in Iran in 3 days lol. Guess those college students got bored

  60. The Iranian ruling system has been improvising the following while America was being kicked in the nose for 18 years. 1. Decrease reliance on oil exports 2. Switch to alternate sources of energy 3. How to keep the monarchists and the MEK on the run 4. Fight America through others in the Region. And they have mastered all 4.

  61. "Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon." –President Trump

  62. I wonder american will stabilize iran like they did in Libya iraq and afghanistan .

  63. Primarily because of the incompetence .. which is hopeful. Why ? Because incompetence can be cured.

  64. Iran is it evil country that anyone who can to think in a rational way thinks that must to fight the evil country that whose name is iran .

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