It’s all over for Iran’s protestors. Or, at least that is the message coming from the head of the country’s Revolutionary Guards. Maj Gen Ali Jafari told the watching world that the so-called attempts at ‘sedition’ had been defeated. This, of course, will not be music to Donald Trump’s ears; especially given that he had been hoping to call for an emergency UN meeting to discuss the “spontaneous” unrest in that country. Thereby leaving the Palestinians wondering just how much more they will have to endure at the hands of the ongoing Israeli military occupation before they receive such due attention.The Iranian protests broke out last week, leaving some 21 dead in clashes with state forces. The citizenry is said to be frustrated over soaring prices of basic goods, including foodstuffs. Moreover, chants of “Death to the dictator” were reminiscent of the so-called Green Revolution of 2009. The term is believed to refer to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — often described in the western media as the all-powerful leader that has ruled the nation with an iron grip for some 38 years. Then, Iranians demonstrated against what they saw as the widely rigged re-election of President Ahmadinejad. Then, as now, those taking to the streets belonged to the young generation. Indeed, this group accused their elders of failing to see through to a single revolution through to the end. And even then, the US wasn’t let off the hook. Tehran accused it of courting young dissenters and training them in the ways of organised social media fuelled unrest.Back then, Ahmadinejad had lost favour with the people for failing to deliver on his economic reform mandate; becoming instead fixated on the nuclear standoff with Washington. Today, it’s not an entirely dissimilar story. Meaning that some two years after the moderate Rouhani brokered the nuclear deal between his country and the international community — the dream of prosperity borne of the lifting of a crippling economic sanctions regime has yet to bear fruit. Furthermore, President Trump, during his first year in office imposed two new unilateral sanctions packages on Tehran. And then by the middle of this month he will decide whether or not he will formally reject the nuclear deal. A ‘no’ from Washington will see Iran hit by further sanctions.What does this mean, if anything, for Pakistan? Given that there is a long overdue thawing of the bilateral relationship with Iran, Islamabad must tread carefully. Meaning that pragmatism demands not abandoning the Tehran regime. After all, we need all the friends we can get in the region. But the fallout of this may be some backlash from the Iranian street. This is because the citizenry there is furious over what it sees as the outward flight of public funds to support state ambitions in Syria and Yemen and Lebanon. And if Pakistan is ultimately seen to be doing a deal with the devil it must overcome its hyper sensitivity that demands it only shows its soft face.But more than that, this should be a lesson for the political machinery here in Pakistan. A timely reminder, if you will, of what real dissent looks like. Because for far too long has civil society here in this country has been hoodwinked into believing that sit-ins staged by various parties — that may or may not have security establishment backing — are a substitute for real revolution. *Published in Daily Times, January 4th 2018.