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Source: Iranintl

May 6, 2023

Sociologists Say Many Iranians Lost Hope, Facing Perpetual Crises

Author: Iran International Newsroom

A Sociologist says that Iranian society is suffering from a deep sense of injustice, inequality, being entangled in a political impasse and worried about the future. 

Political bottlenecks and crises are causing troubles for everyone, Hadi Khaniki told Etemad Online Thursday. But all this can hopefully lead to some kind of renovation and rejuvenation, he added.

"In other words, there is hope in some kind of transformation." Meanwhile, another prominent Iranian sociologist, Mohammad Fazeli, says "man needs to understand plurality in order to create hope."

Referring to a turbulent period since September, he said, "As new dimensions in the relations between the government and the people became evident during the past year, Iran experienced a lot of days full of hope and despair."

Sociologist Hadi Khaniki

In a sense, said Fazeli, Iranians were looking for their lost rights during the 2022 protests. He explained that society continues to live on a series of fault lines which reinforce each other. There is an economic fault line which has been activated because of various sanctions imposed on Iran. Citizens experienced deep economic problems in the 2010s with the economic growth flat, amid rising inflation. 

At the same time, there has also been a social fault line. Between 84 to 86 percent of Iranians were born during the years after the 1979 Islamic revolution. They have been living with a different value system. In the meantime, new values have emerged, and many Iranians believe in those new values. 

Fazeli was referring to the new generation rejecting the clerical regime’s interference in their personal lives, and their higher awareness of conditions in other countries.

Still at the same time, there is another fault line that has emerged as a result of the government's inefficiency, which has created a host of unresolved problems the population has to deal with. 

The people see that the problems with environment, water, transportation, brain drain and immigration, rising inflation and so on have never been solved. At the same time, people are concerned about Iran’s rising tensions with the world. 

“This is a society that lives with the tension of an uncertain future which could potentially lead to a popular revolt. Even if you failed to see this in the 2000's, you must have seen and felt it during the crises of mid 2010s.

If not, you could not miss it during the protests since 2018. In that year, I called the Iranian society "a society that has lost everything it used to have," Fazeli said.

One person lost his hope, another one lost his job or business, yet another one lost the hope for living in a better world while others felt they have lost the lifestyle they were used to. Every one of them represented a large part of the Iranian society. 

Even the religious people thought they lost something when they saw that commitment to religious values have declined. 

Iranian sociologist, Mohammad Fazeli

Fazeli reiterated that the critical situation in Iran is caused by a series of crises as they have all converged at the same time and at the same point.

He explained that in every society there are satisfied people and those who are disenchanted. But when dissidents dramatically outnumber those who are happy, then a serious political crisis will emerge. 

"I saw a research paper recently in which some 24 percent of the population said their financial situation had improved during the past two years, more than 60 percent said their situation has worsened and a small number said there has been no difference for them.

When the number of those who are dissatisfied is three times more, there is trouble on the horizon. 

Referring to the government’s inability to deal with multiple crises he said, "If you are not improving the situation, you cannot tell the people that they have to tolerate it.

The people might listen to you only if you are prepared to give something to them. And let us note that their threshold of tolerance now is extremely low."

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