Iran’s Legions of Weary Young People Push Against the Old Ways

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Hard-liners face large population of rambunctious youth tired of decades of religious edicts and isolation.

During a spirited concert by the band Rastak, the Islamic Republic’s hard-line religious conservatives faced a challenge that is increasingly common in Iran: three young women cheering too enthusiastically.

As the friends, dressed in colorful head scarves, erupted in screams and applause, a stern woman in black emerged from the side of the auditorium here, pointing a finger and threatening to eject them. When they continued, another official snapped their pictures.

They didn’t seem intimidated at all. “Are you sure you don’t want to leave?” one of them shouted over the music with a smile to the security personnel. The women kept on cheering but were watched closely for the rest of the concert.

The confrontation shows how hard-liners who have dominated Iran for a decade are bumping up against another force: Iran’s rambunctious youth, most born long after the 1979 revolution. More than half of Iran’s 75 million people are under 35 years old. Many are weary of overweening religious edicts, economic mismanagement and isolation brought by a decade of international sanctions.

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