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This nation has not allowed one single day, one single year, one single decade pass over the last 40 years of the life of the ruling Islamists without systematically, consistently, non-violently, but structurally challenging and changing it. This challenge has changed the ruling regime, produced rooted and successive women's rights, human rights and civil rights movements within the skeletal framing of the ruling Islamic Republic.

Source: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/idea-regime-change-iran-delusional-180604165615762.html

I have to ask someone to help me with understanding the above paragraph. I am not sure how to interpret the passage in bold. Does it say that the Iranian people (the nation) permanently over the last 40 years under the regime of the theocracy were able to change in a positive way the nature of the regime? Does the whole paragraph say that in reality, the regime is not so bad – as is often suggested – and that there is the progress in terms of civil and human right and so on?

  • To what does "it' refer in that bolded sentence? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 25 '18 at 16:55
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Edit:

This nation has not allowed one single day, one single year, one single decade to pass in the last 40 years of the life of the ruling Islamists without systematically, consistently, non-violently, but structurally challenging and changing it. This challenge has changed the ruling regime, produced rooted and successive women's rights, human rights and civil rights movements within the skeletal framing of the ruling Islamic Republic.

To allow x to pass in the last x years of y without [doing z]. Sounds better to my ear.

Normally, one does say: to not allow something to [verb]

The author is saying that despite the ruling Islamists, the nation (i.e. the Iranian people, in my reading) has been able to effectuate change in various areas of human existence.

It is, in my view, an indirect way of saying progress has been made despite the drag effect exerted by the ruling regime.

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I'll start by stripping out a bunch of stuff that's minimally relevant to the grammar in question:

This nation has not allowed [time span] (to) pass over the last 40 years without challenging it.

The ending bit has become non-specific because the verb that comes after "without" isn't relevant. The "to" I've added in parentheses is pretty easy to infer, but is required for the grammar to be strictly correct.

Reading the simplified sentence, it's simply "Within the last 40 years, there has never been a [time span] when we did not challenge it". Hopefully, that clears up the overall meaning.

Now we can cover what that "[time span]" actually is. In the original quote it's:

one single day, one single year, one single decade

As a native speaker of American English, this is odd but understandable. The typical pattern in this context would be to list narrowing time spans, so starting from "decade" and narrowing to "day". This is fairly common when emphasizing "dedication even to the smallest details" like this quote seems to be. Reversing the order as in this quote seems to me like a minor mistake rather than something intentionally different.

Thus, my final summary of the sentence is: "In the last 40 years, we challenged the ruling Islamists every day."

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