Ailsa Chang talks to journalist Robin Wright of The New Yorker about the protests that began over economic issues and then turned political. Wright is also a fellow at the Wilson Center.
AILSA CHANG, HOST: Let's ask what's behind the deadly protests across Iran. Initially, President Hassan Rouhani seemed to be the target of the demonstrations. But then some protesters aimed even higher. They chanted death to the dictator, a reference to the ayatollah who holds supreme power in the country. We've call in longtime visitor to Iran who's watching the protests, Robin Wright of The New Yorker. Good morning.
ROBIN WRIGHT: Good morning. Happy New Year.
CHANG: Happy New Year to you, too. What are you hearing from your friends in Iran right now?
WRIGHT: Well, there are a lot of things happening that play out in a lot of different levels. This is different from the 2009 Green Movement when you saw a public uprising in challenging the election results. That, at the time, had a leadership. That was political. This at the moment began over economic issues. You have almost 30 percent unemployment among the young. And some of the staples have gone up as much as 40 percent in recent weeks. And so there was a spontaneous protest that began in a very conservative center of Iran, in Mashhad - Iran's holiest city. And it spread very quickly. And it's clear that this economic issue resonates.