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America’s changing role in the world: A debate
Most protests in Iran are over economic issues. What’s different is that it seems to have tapped into a deep sense of alienation and frustration, that people aren’t just demonstrating for better working conditions or pay, but insisting on wholesale rejection of the system itself.
North Korea wants many things including economic access, so the price tag to negotiate with North Korea on anything is much higher than it ever was because of its nuclear capability now. People should not assume that because these overtures have been made that it’s going to be follow the yellow brick road, a little bit of fun and that’s that. It’s going to come with a high cost.
[The Trump administration's travel ban is] an affront to all Iranians. You can’t tell Iranians that you have their back when they confront the regime if you’re not willing to let them in your country... If you’re uncertain about going to the streets, knowing that you have somewhere to go is possibly a small encouragement. Many Iranians came here after 2009.
My guess is that the Islamic Republic will ride [these protests] out, [but they will take a] toll on the legitimacy of the government as a whole [and] undercut [Rouhani's] credibility as a guy who can fix the economy.
Unfortunately, I don’t see a real opportunity for public opinion in Iran to change the regime’s regional activity. The Iranians supported terror organizations in the region even when they were under worse economic pressure than now. They will continue to do that.