Since the signing of the deal, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have arrested at least 30 dual nationals, mostly on spying charges. In the years before the deal, the number of dual nationals imprisoned at any given time was usually in single figures. However, in February 2018, at least 19 out of the 30 detainees had European citizenship.
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Although the moderates and reformists are more open to change within a controlled environment, the hardliners see the disappearance of hijab as symbolic of the loss of their own power. Hence, hijab has become both a cultural war between the state and its citizens and a power play at the very heart of the political establishment. Indeed, by removing her headscarf in public, the ‘Girl from Revolution Street’ has not only become the latest symbol of this ongoing cultural war but has also underscored the increasing friction within Iranian factional politics.
A radical economic transformation requires serious compromise from every segment of the establishment – a compromise that those currently benefitting from the corrupt system are unlikely to make. What is certain is that the status quo, which has left many Iranians desperate, will pave the way for periodic outbreaks of dissent that could get out of control at any time.
The recent dissent has been dubbed the ‘uprising of the poor’, who have been hardest hit by the country’s economic woes . The protests that followed the allegedly rigged presidential election in 2009 mainly attracted middle-class protestors who prioritized their political and cultural grievances over economic demands. Although it is difficult to separate economic and political demands, rising prices and growing inequality were the main instigators of the recent protests.