Karim Sadjapour in Time Magazine:
The Islamic Republic of Iran has thus far proved too ideologically rigid to reform and too ruthless to collapse. As in the late stages of the Soviet Union, however, the foundations decay in plain sight. Outside their homeland, women of Iranian origin become world-class mathematicians and astronauts; inside Iran, the ruling clerics debate whether women should be allowed to ride bicycles.
One year ago this month, the regime’s “morality police” detained and beat a 22-year-old woman—Mahsa Jina Amini—for allegedly showing too much hair beneath her compulsory veil. Her death in custody triggered Iran’s longest anti-government protests since the 1979 revolution that transformed the country from a U.S.-allied monarchy to an anti-American Islamist theocracy. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei managed these protests as he always does, by crushing dissent, dividing adversaries, and refusing to offer any concessions. Over 20,000 people were arrested and over 500 killed, including several who were executed. Compromising under pressure, Khamenei believes, only projects weakness and emboldens dissent.