What is the effect of external pressures, namely economic sanctions, on the civil society of the targeted nation? The dominant line of scholarship examined the impact of economic sanctions on nonstate actors, arguing that the financial shortcomings resulting from sanctions may deactivate the grassroots power of nonstate organizations. Their finding supports the hypothesis that as more people will be struggling for their essential needs, they are less likely to challenge the state by collective action (Salehi-Isfahani 2020; Ghomi 2022; Borszik 2016; Kokabisaghi 2018; Naghavi and Pignataro 2015; Peksen and Drury 2010). This paper will contribute to the literature by hypothesizing that the sanctions could activate the teacher’s movement in Iran and enhance its performance in terms of organization, mobilization, and grassroots presence.
A within-the-case comparison of Iran’s teacher movement, in this paper, we will examine the effect of economic sanctions, known as the maximum pressure campaign, on Iran’s teachers’ movement from 2014 to 2022. Three major hypotheses will be tested; we will compare the two main episodes in which all nuclear sanctions were relieved and then reimposed. We will test the dependent variable of the teachers’ movement’s collective actions, indicated by all types of in-person protests, including sit-ins, rallies, and demonstrations, vis-à-vis three categories of independent variables. First is the indirect impact of sanctions on the work compensation of teachers. Second is the means of better organization of the collective action of teachers measured by the accessibility and influence of online communication platforms. The third is the trajectory of the movement’s demands in the period of this study mirrored in its slogans, hashtags, tweets, and statements.
The anticipated findings of this paper would reveal the complexity of social protest in authoritarian regimes and the complex interplay of factors that affect the outcome of teacher mobilization, including the impact of economic sanctions and the use of new forms of social media in rallying support and/or challenging official discourse on sanctions.