Why Playing the ‘Long Game’ Is the Right Approach to Iran’s Protests

This commentary was originally published in The Hill on October 19, 2022.

It is hard to watch the protests unfolding in Iran over the last month and not feel moved to action. Seeing tens of thousands of brave young Iranians seeking dignity and autonomy strikes a special chord with publics that take dignity and autonomy for granted. The proximate cause of the protests—a woman apparently beaten to death for being insufficiently modestly dressed—is so transparently horrific as to shock the conscience. 

And yet, the Biden administration’s apparent circumspection toward the protests is the correct policy course. While the approach is neither emotionally nor politically satisfying, the alternatives would do the protestors no favors and potentially put Iran on an even more destructive course. 

Read the full article on The Hill

Jon Alterman
Senior Vice President, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and Director, Middle East Program