Fire bell in the night for the Ayatollah
How could the Republican Guard surrender its slice of the Iranian economy and end its foreign interventions without imperiling its reason for being -- to protect and promote the Iranian Islamic revolution?
Half of Iran's population is 31 or younger. This new generation was not even born until a decade after the Revolution that overthrew the Shah.
How does a clerical regime speak to a people, 40 million of whom have smartphones connecting them to an outside world where they can see the freedom and prosperity they seek, but their government cannot or will not deliver?
The protesters are also telling Rouhani's "reformers," in power now for five years, that they, too, have failed.
Rouhani's dilemma? To grow Iran's economy and improve the quality of life, he needs more foreign investment and more consumer goods. Yet any surge in material prosperity Rouhani delivers is certain to undermine the religious faith undergirding the theocratic regime.
And as any transfer of power to the elected regime has to come at the expense of the clerics and the Guard, Rouhani is not likely to get that power.
Thus, he and his government are likely to continue to fail.
Bottom line: The Islamic Republic of Iran was not established to create a materially prosperous and socially free society, because, in the ayatollah's theology, such societies, like the USA, are of the devil and corruptive of the people.
Social freedom is irreconcilable with Iranian theocracy.
And Iranian hard-liners, clerical and military, are not going to permit protests demanding Western freedom and material goods, to cause them to commit what they believe would be ideological suicide.