Case Study:

Crisis of Legitimacy in Iran

Iran is being rocked by its biggest wave of protests in nearly a decade. Since December 28, tens of thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets in huge numbers of towns and cities to demand freedom from their theocratic government. At least 20 people have since been killed in clashes with security forces, and hundreds of mostly young people have been arrested, per news reports.


The demonstrations began as small gatherings protesting a slow economy in Mashhad, Iran’s second-largest city; over the past week they’ve morphed into a wave of major demonstrations in which ordinary Iranians are often heard calling for a revolution against the country’s theocratic government.


But this massive movement — one with the potential to reshape the Middle East — has a pretty mundane cause. (Source: VOX)


  • What is the situation in Iran? 

  • What led to the crisis?

  • How have other states reacted?


We will look at the questions through a video and a reading.



STR/AFP/Getty Images


1. What do you know about the protests in Iran?

2. According to the NYT video, what three things have instigated the unrest?


Define and apply