“I think the protests are not going to end soon. It seems to me that we are witnessing the beginning of a big protest movement that can go well beyond the Green wave of 2009. It would not surprise me if it becomes something bigger,”
Ebadi said in an interview to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
A fourth night of unrest in Iran saw mass demonstrations across the country in which at least 200 people were arrested and public buildings attacked.
Police fired water cannon to disperse demonstrators who attacked security personnel, turned over cars and set them on fire. Some were heard shouting “Khamenei, shame on you, leave the country alone.”
The roots of anger are economic and social, according to Abadi, who now lives in exile in London.
“In Iran, and it is not new, there is a very serious economic crisis. The corruption in the whole country is at appalling levels. The end of certain sanctions related to the nuclear agreement with Europe and the US in 2015 did not bring real
benefits to the population, contrary to what many expected,” she said. “Added to this is the fact that Iran has very high military expenditures. People are not willing to see so much money spent on it,” she added.
“Young people are the most disappointed,” Ebadi said, referring to the high unemployment. “The economic situation and the frightening gap between the rich and the poor, between those who enjoy well-being and those who cannot, are at the root of the protest,” the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize-winner said.