A year and eleven months ago, Iran’s parliamentary elections ended in a resounding victory for the reformists. Last May, the reformist candidate Hassan Rouhani convincingly defeated his hardline rival, Ebrahim Raisi, in the Presidential election. Rouhani's inauguration was presented as a celebration of the country’s democracy and stability.
But last Thursday demonstrations began at the city of Mashhad and then rapidly spread across the country, growing in clamour and violence with, so far, 21 dead and 450 injured. Earlier this week, the Grand Ayatollah, Ali Khameini, who had sought to stay above it all, intervened to accuse foreign powers of sabotage. He did not name the enemy states, but other senior officials blamed the US, Britain and Saudi Arabia for instigating the protests which have led to bloodshed and destruction.