Last Sunday, the Islamic Republic celebrated the 39th anniversary of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Tehran and the seizure of its staff. To honor the date, the government painted American and Israeli flags at the entrances of public buildings, so that those walking in or out could trample on them. But many refused to do so, writes Benny Avni:
Iranians now increasingly dismiss the notion that the sole cause of their problems is the Great Satan. . . . Masih Alinejad—the Iranian-born, Brooklyn-based author of The Wind in My Hair, a best-seller about the battle she inspired against Iranian laws mandating traditional Islamic head coverings for women—[reports that] her Iranian social-media followers . . . sent her several video clips showing students going out of their way to sidestep the flags. Posted on her Instagram account and narrated in Farsi, one video received a million hits. . . .
“This is a new phenomenon,” she says. “Everyone I talk to is worried about the economic impact of the sanctions,” and yet “people are refusing to buy into the regime’s talking points.” . . .
Poverty-stricken remote villagers, taxi and truck drivers, environmentalists, women’s-rights supporters, even upscale, traditionally regime-supporting merchants at the Tehran bazaar all now chant against their theocratic rulers. They [complain of] corruption, mismanagement, involvement in foreign wars, and oppression at home rather than faulting Israel or America.
Sure, some will continue to scapegoat America. But for the many Iranians disenchanted with the regime, [U.S.] sanctions can reinforce a reality: the Islamic Republic’s revolutionary ideology is quickly taking them to nowhere. And they realize another truth, too: their real oppressors aren’t Israel or America—but the clerical regime.