Opposition to the Iranian regime is real and continues to display remarkable tenacity in the face of brutal repression.
But, reports Graeme Wood in the Atlantic, there appears still to be massive support for the status-quo:
In the center of the street, the Quds Day protesters flowed toward me on foot, in groups representing different government-loyal constituencies: soldiers from all branches, women’s groups (louder than most, and monolithically black in their chadors), and tae kwon do clubs, whose black and white gis matched the general monochrome theme of the day. In age the marchers varied widely, and were well represented in the youth-bulge demographic. Palestinians, naturally, made no appearances I could see, though scattered Hizbullah delegates did.
For this observer, anyway, the Quds Day rally established exactly what the Islamic Republic wanted it to show, which is that despite the reports of unrest and discontent, there are still vast numbers of Iranians who love their government and hate Israel, and who are as sheltered from their anti-clerical countrymen as their government wants them to be. The opposition, of course, rallied elsewhere, farther north (more on that later). And optimists will point out, with some justification, that totalitarian governments have never had much trouble staging parades, even in their last days. But if the protesters’ goal was to force their displeasure into the view of all Iranians, they failed. If I hadn’t received the Tweets, I wouldn’t have known there was any counter-protest at all.