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Middle East Focus is a weekly podcast featuring talk and analysis on U.S. foreign policy, contemporary political and social issues in the Middle East, and the arts and culture of region. It is produced by the Middle East Institute, a non-partisan think tank in Washington, D.C. For more information visit

Dec 19, 2022

Now entering their fourth month of defiance, the people of Iran continue to protest the regime of Ali Khamenei. Since protests began in September, the crackdown by security forces has become increasingly severe and the government has now begun executing protesters. According to figures from the Human Rights Activists News Agency, as of Dec. 15, nearly 500 protesters have been killed and almost 20,000 people have been arrested. Despite the risks, Iran's astonishingly brave protesters continue to call for the fall of the regime. For an update on the situation and an eye towards the future, host Alistair Taylor turns to Alex Vatanka, founding Director of the Iran Program at the Middle East Institute.