Protests have been going on for several days around the country now, following the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody, and at least some involved in the protests are calling for regime change. However, large-scale protests have happened before and have not resulted in regime change. Will this time be different?
This question will resolve as YES if the collapse of the regime is reported by a reputable news source such as AP or Reuters by 11:59 pm on December 31, 2023. Otherwise, it will resolve as NO.
Close date updated to 2023-12-31 11:59 pm
It's my anecdotal experience/opinion that manifold users on aggregate tend to overrate the probability of major world-shifting events happening in the near-term, be they the use of nuclear weapons, dramatic outcomes in conflict, or, most commonly, regime change. The current protests in Iran are serious, and their chances of toppling the government are non-zero, but what makes or breaks coups, particularly in dictatorships, is the loyalty of the army, which so far seems solid with no particular reason to change.
Relatedly, I also find it strange that the falls-in-2022 market is currently at 10% (which seems much closer to a correct value), but given the strength of the current protests, it seems like this year would offer the bulk of opportunities for the regime to fall by the end of 2023 - so, assuming a return to baseline coup risk next year, thsi market is dfeinitely high. That said, maybe I'm wrong and the current strife will be long lasting.
@AngolaMaldives The format selects for betting people. Overrating dramatic outcomes seems a predictable non-dramatic outcome.
@AngolaMaldives Great points, all made very articulately.
@AngolaMaldives You make a good point about the overestimation of the likelihood of certain events, but I think this situation in Iran is much more nuanced than a binary outcome of (1) the government is overthrown or (2) the government is not overthrown.
Iran is a theocracy where the leader draws legitimacy from god, not from their bloodline or even from their standing as head of the government. The Ayatollah does technically have authority over and "runs" the government of Iran, but he spends most of his time meeting with individuals about their personal problems, such as mitigating arguments between spouses and the like. He is the second Ayatollah and himself was not the chosen successor of Ruhollah Khomeini, who had dismissed his preferred successor shortly before his death, and in fact he wasn't even an Ayatollah at the time but the President of the government, and needed to get the approval of religious elders. It didn't happen without dissent and fortunately remained peaceful.
If Khomeini truly is on his deathbed without having selected his successor that means someone will have to step into that role and somehow gain legitimacy, possibly even someone without any direct personal connection to the revolution, which is very hard to imagine. Khomeini's prominent roll during the revolution and his senior government position during the Iran-Iraq War put him in a strong position to be deferred to by any potential challengers and instantly have the loyalty of the population. This outcome gets less likely with time.
My point is that if Khomeini is dying and incapacitated, the government is effectively non-existent already. The protests would not be the cause of the downfall but a symptom of it. Without someone weilding the authority of the Ayatollah everything is paralyzed, including doing what is necessary to address the concerns of the protesters.
@BTE Good point, I hadn't considered the high likelihood of a succession crisis. Selling some of my NO position which now feels somewhat overextended.
The current protests in Iran are more intense than they've been in more than a decade, and we'd be hearing a lot more about them were it not for the war in Ukraine.
Investing no despite the fact that I'd love to see them gone and Iran to return to what they had in the 70s.
I notice a certain similarity with my similar question for 2022! As with that market, I'm placing a small, contrarian "yes" bet because some day, enough of the country will be alienated from the power structure that the regime will fall. I feel like that time is getting somewhat close. I still think it's probably more likely that it won't collapse by the end of 2023, but I also think there's enough of a risk that it might that I'll place a small "yes" bet on it.