Historically, social movements and local protests have often arisen from those of middle- or working-class backgrounds who have demonstrated the courage and skill to organize others at great personal sacrifice and peril.1 These reformist movements and organizations, spearheaded by a new middle class, have embraced the rhetoric and instruments of social justice and human rights –both domestically and from an international standpoint– not just as empowering tools but also as vehicles for building social solidarity across the globe. The spread of the middle class across the world has been equated with evolving norms and values. In recent years, however, democratic systems of governance appear to have been in a state of atrophy. Iran’s middle classes have felt threatened by the lingering economic hardship caused by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, negative consequences of global free trade, and the ongoing U.S. sanctions. This trend has generated contradictory results, making some members of the middle classes more motivated to participate in the political process to rectify wrongs, and others resigned to a pessimistic view with little or no desire to challenge or even hold the government accountable.