Lots more here. Via @borzou
Further to today’s post about allegations the Iran protests are a redneck affair, @borzou tweets video of the provincials’ big city cousins showing up for the game tonight:
This morning both Mary Dejevski in The Independent and Borzou Daragahi in Buzzfeed point out an apparently deep and wide cleavage between the poorer, rural Iranians leading this round of protests and the urban middle-class. Daragahi:
“The middle class in Iran are educated and experienced enough to understand who is who in this theater,” said the editor of a centrist Tehran newspaper close to the leadership,”
suggesting urban condescension for the protesting rural cadres. He writes that urbanites “derided the protesters as ‘tribal’ small-town folks; they’re burning police stations and attacking security forces, they said, not out of political considerations but to settle rural vendettas.”
Dejevsky confirms the condescension, remembering how a relative, once resident in Teheran,
“despaired of the impracticality of many of the new educated middle class, their condescension as she saw it towards their uneducated compatriots.”
Other than compiling video clips of protests, as Daraghani does on Twitter @borzou, neither seems to have a well-developed line of communication outside the urban “fast set” in Teheran.
In the last day or so the number of demonstrations appears to have dropped, but as we learned in the 2009 protests, and indeed throughout the neighboring “Arab Spring,” we’re never far from a Friday, the holy day, a day off on which things can flare up again.
I defer to both Dejevsky and Borzou, and anybody else who has actually been to Iran. The closest I’ve ever come was on this Qatar Airways flight. All I can say from first-hand experience is that southwest Iran is very dry and not very populated.
Flying the Qatar Airways 15+ hour nonstop from Doha to ATL last week took us on a great circle route that would be fascinating to do on the surface, straight up the Caspian Sea, closer to Baku than to the Turkmenistan coast, then east of Grozny, along the edge of the Volga flood plain west of Astrakhan, beyond which it’s not far from the Kazakh border.
Further north we crossed the southwestern Russian agricultural heartland, not far east of the frozen conflict in the Donbass. Then across the Baltics, just south of St. Petersburg and Helsinki, across Norway and over the sea near Bergen, entirely north of Iceland, across the Greenland ice cap north of Tasiilaq, from Baffin Island down west of Cleveland and on in.
We passed over Esfahan and just to the west of Qom and Teheran:
Those of you who have gotten to southwest Iran before us will know this, but judging from this photo there may not be many of you: Southwest Iran looks pretty darned desolate.
Check out a nice, quick tourist’s view of Iran’s major cities. It’s by Matthew Stevenson, here in New Geography magazine.
What’s with President Putin’s puffed up tough-guy pose in the Caspian Summit class picture? Pretty funny. And hey, THAT’s what President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov looks like (right).
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. A name not made for Twitter.
Photo credit: Office of the President of Russia