With an estimated 1,000 people arrested over the course of a little over a week in protests in Iran, the most high profile may ultimately be the most surprising, with reports former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been jailed for “incitement.”
Though Ahmadinejad has not really been linked to the protest movement, he made comments during his visit to Bushehr in late December which seemed to express support for them, faulting the leadership for being “detached from the problems and concerns of the people.”
This makes the narrative a lot trickier internationally, as the US has sought to brand the new protests as a continuation of the 2009 protests, which were themselves against Ahmadinejad’s contested reelection.
The newer protests started with small economic protests over high inflation and unemployment, and a crackdown fairly quickly anger the public and turned it into a political battle.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard have declared the protests over at this point, and indications are that the only rallies on Sunday were in support of the government and against the protesters, who the leadership have branded as US-backed.