Posts Tagged ‘Iran Economy’

Ali Khamenei,Human Rights,Iran Economy,Iran human rights,Iran Protests,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI,Regime Change

Ali Khamenei, the top mullah responsible for the crimes against humanity in Iran

Regime Calls for Unity to Counter Fear of The Uprisings

Ali Khamenei, the top mullah responsible for the crimes against humanity in Iran

Ali Khamenei, expressing concern about the infighting among regime fractions in light of the growing protests against the regime.

Regime authorities are once again stressing the importance of unity between opposing factions as the clerical regime teeters dangerously close to being overthrown. Regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, and officials of all levels have emphasized that regime leaders must put aside their differences, at least publicly, in order to weather the “current dangers” facing the clerical dictatorship.

 

The “current dangers” are of course the regime’s growing fear of the people’s uprisings particularly with the role the MEK, has been playing in mobilizing the, which pose a threat to the mullahs’ continued claim to power. Officials call for unity time and time again, but they have repeatedly failed to address the fundamental problem facing Iran: the Iranian people are unified against the mullahs, and no amount of solidarity amongst officials can change their desire for regime change.

Increasing Rifts

Khamenei appoints Friday prayer Imams to act as his mouthpieces to the public. He recently met with Friday prayer Imams to discuss messaging in Friday prayers and voiced his concern about criticizing officials and regime institutions in Friday prayer sermons.

“We shouldn’t raise an issue immediately in Friday prayers when we see it in governmental, judicial, or other institutions,” he said, emphasizing that this “would increase the rifts and differences and agitate the population.”

 

Massih Mohajeri, a mullah close to Rouhani’s faction and the editor-in-chief of the Islamic Republic newspaper, claimed that Friday prayer Imams are doing the very thing Khamenei warned against. While admitting the hatred and illegitimacy even within the ranks of the regime supporters, he blamed the problem on poorly-qualified Imams in an article in the newspaper he edits.

“The reason why participants of Friday prayers are decreasing over the past recent years is that there has been negligence in the necessary qualities for choosing Friday prayer imams,” he explained.

“There are Friday prayer imams who lack the necessary qualities and don’t have the ability to attract the people and unite them,” he continued. “In recent decades, a large amount of money and energy have been spent on building prayer sites in different cities. However, there hasn’t been much spent to significantly improve the quality of Friday prayer imams. The result is that we have praying sites but no worshippers and the number of individuals who participate in Friday prayers all over the country is a fraction of the population that actually prays. More importantly, the number of young people present is very small. This means that the Friday prayer imams lack connection to the current generation,” he added.

No Difference between Factions

In a July 13th interview, Mohebbian, a conservative Iranian regime strategist, admitted what the MEK has said for years: “Due to the disappointment about the management of [Iranian] political movements, the population has concluded that one political movement is like the other and there is no difference,” Mohebbian said.

“The internal and external difficulties of the conservative movement is serious as is that of the moderates. The most important problem of conservatives is their weakness in political marketing for their opinions among the population. Eventually, the people will move beyond both [factions],” he added. A very clear admission of the fear the entire corrupt and repressive regime has from the people’s uprising.

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Iran Economy,Iran human rights,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),PMOI

Plundering the Iranian people's wealth by the current regime

Rouhani’s Energy Minister Blames “Consumerist Society” for U.S. Sanctions, Saying “Iranians Eat a Lot”

Plundering the Iranian people's wealth by the current regime

Forty years of corruption and repression, has left the Iranian people in terrible economic condition.

The Iranian regime was sanctioned by the United States because of the Iranian people’s “bad habits in consumption,” said Iranian regime Ministry of Energy Reza Ardakanian in a recent interview with the state-run ILNA News Agency.

“Iranians eat a lot and dress in extravagance,” asserted Ardakanian. In fact, state-run news agencies reported that Iranians are now eating 70% less than they were before the current economic crisis, and many have resorted to digging through public garbage bins to find food.

Ardakanian claimed that Iranians had more food, clothing, and higher housing budgets than people in developed countries but have satisfaction and happiness levels at “one-hundredth” of that of people from developed and industrialized countries. The Energy Minister did not name any specific countries, but he may have been referring to the 2019 Gallup Global Emotions Report, which ranked Iran as one of the five unhappiest countries in the world.

According to Ardakanian, the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran was due to a “consumerist society.”

“The reason we were sanctioned was our bad habits in consumption,” he said. “The (U.S.) realized that our weakness is consumption. We are a consumerist society. Why is China not being sanctioned like this? Because they are satisfied with one meal a day.”

Ardakanian’s statements contradict the regime’s own reports, which show that the economy is in crisis. Iran’s economic condition has become so dire that some economists have begun to draw class distinctions in Iran based on levels of poverty. There is no longer a middle class; there are only the elite and the poor, and the poor can be divided into subgroups.

The Poverty Line

The poverty line is the minimum level of income that is considered adequate. 80% of Iranians live below the poverty line.

The Absolute Poverty Line

The absolute poverty line is the level at which a family cannot provide for their basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, and hygiene. Absolute poverty is a life-threatening condition.

Hossein Raghfar, an economist associated with the regime, puts the absolute poverty line in Iran at 1.5 million tomans per month (approximately 120 USD).

According to Raghfar, 40% of Iranians live under the absolute poverty line, based on 2012 statistics.

The Extreme Poverty Line

Raghfar also discussed the extreme poverty line, which has also been called the “line of hunger” or the “line of death.” Families living in extreme poverty cannot meet their basic food needs even with their combined salaries. Raghfar said that more than 14% of rural Iranians currently live in extreme poverty.

The economic catastrophe in Iran is the result of forty years of corruption and incompetence at the hands of the mullahs. There is no free market in Iran, only a system in which half of the economy is controlled by the Revolutionary Guards. While 80% of the Iranian people live in poverty, the mullahs and their friends plunder the country’s wealth and resources on terrorism, warmongering, and oppression.

The MEK believes that true democracy depends on a market economy that is accessible to every Iranian. No free country can function when its wealth is distributed only to those in power, particularly when those in power are incompetent and their rule is absolute.

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infighting within Iran parliament,Iran Economy,Iran Protests,MEK,PMOI

Infighting within Iran parliament

Majlis Members Argue About Who Should Be Blamed for Economic Disaster

Infighting within Iran parliament

Infighting among regime parliamentarians a reflection of the insolvable internal crisis within the regime.

On Sunday, the Iranian Majlis (parliament) held a public session which devolved into factional infighting as regime leaders attempted to pass the blame for the country’s escalating economic crisis.

 

Hardliners from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s faction blame regime President Hassan Rouhani and his government for the country’s economic woes. Members of Rouhani’s “moderate” faction have attempted to push back on this narrative, arguing that blaming the regime empowers the MEK and the Iranian Resistance.

Ignore the Problem

Mohammad Kazemi, a so-called moderate Majlis member made this argument at Sunday’s session, saying:

“We should fear a tomorrow where, due to incompetence and bad timing, the people are disillusioned about the impact of committed movements and personalities, and pro-regime change activists will take the lead in the country’s politics.”.

Iran's economy

The bankrupt and corrupt Iranian regime economy.

Blame the Elites

Majlis member Sakineh Almasi was quick to point the blame for Iran’s economic disaster on the country’s elite. She cited several examples of corruption by the elite in Asaluyeh, southern Iran, where a large portion of Iran’s oil and gas industry is concentrated.

“Asaluyeh is like a dairy cow and the petrochemicals being the wallet of the elite. Innocent locals in Asaluyeh die because of chemicals so that the elite can have economic rent in figures reaching hundreds of trillions of rials [billions of dollars]. Such money at times ends up in the U.S. and Canada,” she confessed, revealing the extent of corruption within the regime’s ranks.

Almasi said that 450 workers at the South Pars gas fields have not received their wages for several months, blaming the economic elite for the delays and subsequent protests.

“In the current economic circumstances, it has been months since they are in this limbo, there is no way to pay them and their insurances haven’t also been paid. Their daily protest rallies in Asaluyeh have been repeatedly exploited by the opposition media outlets,” she added.

Workers from many sectors of Iranian society have protested over delayed or unpaid wages over the past year. Teachers, municipal employees, and pensioners have all waited months for their paychecks because of the crumbling economy and the regime’s substandard labor practices.

State the Obvious

Majlis member Gholiallah Gholizadeh stated the obvious: “The people can’t bear any more relentless economic pressures.” He failed to offer a solution.

Blame Rouhani

Hardliners from Khamenei’s party placed the blame for the country’s economic issues squarely at the feet of Rouhani.

“[Rouhani] has delegated responsibilities to unqualified and lazy sybarites who worship their sons-in-law, children, relatives, and acquaintances. And money,” he said, faulting Rouhani’s incompetence for the “loss of opportunities.”

Hardliner Jabbar Kuchakinejad criticized Rouhani for bringing up the issue of constitutional authority.

“Instead of taking care of the people’s problems, Rouhani has raised the issue of his own authority,” he said. He raises the issue of a referendum and other mandates related to ministries so that we increase the government’s dimensions. This means, instead of taking care of the people’s fundamental needs, Rouhani has entered the sidelines.”

The economic catastrophe facing Iran has left 80% of its citizens living below the poverty level and forced many to sell their organs to meet basic needs or rummage through public trash cans to find food. The situation is not sustainable and continues to deteriorate.

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Iran's Economy on the verge of collapse

Iran on the Verge of Economic Collapse, Rouhani Loses Sleep

Iran's Economy on the verge of collapse

Iran’s Economy in its worst condition in decades

Iran is in a downward spiral of escalating social and economic crises caused by forty years of corruption and mismanagement under the mullahs’ dictatorship. The ruling regime has attempted to deny the severity of the problem, to deflect blame onto others (faulting the United States for the economic catastrophe caused by the regime’s corruption and terrorist actions and blaming the MEK for the widespread social unrest caused by years of poverty and oppression), and to suppress anti-regime protests and political dissent in a series of desperate ploys to hold onto power.

In recent months, however, the situation has become so grave that even those at the highest levels of the regime have been forced to acknowledge the severity of the problems facing Iran.

In a May 18th speech to Iranian teachers, regime President Hassan Rouhani admitted that the problems facing the country were so dire he considered himself blessed if he managed to sleep two hours a night.

“We have hard days ahead; our days are more difficult than you think,” he said. “The hardships are so grave that some nights if I sleep for two hours, I thank God that I slept two hours.”

Rouhani is undoubtedly losing sleep more because of his fear of losing power than because of concern for the welfare of the Iranian people, but both issues are intertwined. The Iranian people have reached their breaking point, and the widespread social unrest in the country is due to boiling over into a full-scale rebellion.

Unemployment among Millennials

On May 14th, the state-run Emtiaz Daily newspaper cited alarming data about the number of millennials currently unemployed in Iran.

“According to the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Center of Statistics, of the 8.16 million people born in the ’80s, about 4.7 million people are employed while 3.9 million are unemployed,” the article read.

Millennials, who range from their late 20s to late 30s, are at peak child-rearing age. The overwhelming majority of these 3.9 million unemployed people have families to support. With an average household of four, that means that almost 16 million Iranian citizens who depend on a millennial breadwinner are left without a means of support.

Emigration

According to a 2018 report by the state-run Asre Iran newspaper, 40% of those unemployed in Iran were university graduates.

Educated Iranians see no hope in the country’s future, and they are leaving in droves. The Economist reported that as many as 150,000 university-educated Iranians leave the country each year. This creates a “brain drain” in which there are not enough talented minds to drive innovation and strengthen the economy.

According to the Economist report, one of the reasons for the mass emigration is that Iranians “long ago lost their revolutionary zeal.”

Rising Food Prices

Increasing food prices have made it impossible for many impoverished families to meet their basic needs, even while working two jobs.

Over the course of just a few hours, the price of macaroni skyrocketed from 3,100 tomans to 5,450 tomans. Tuna fish rose from 9,200 tomans to 15,500 tomans.

Eggs and rice have also reportedly increased in prices during the month of Ramadan.

Sugar has become difficult to find at all, and grains have gone up in price by 40% over just a few days.

In 2016, well before the economic crisis had reached its current level, Ali Akbar Siari, Iran’s Deputy Minister of Health said that 30 percent of the people in the country hungry and did not have bread to eat, citing statistics from the regime’s Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare. Poverty, inflation, and food prices have all skyrocketed since then.

Many Iranians have been forced to rummage through public trash bins for food in order to avoid starvation. State-run media reports that Iranians eat 70% less food than they did previously.

Rouhani may only sleep for two hours tonight, but it is unlikely that he will go to bed hungry.

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Infighting between regime parliamentarians.

Members of the Majlis Raise the Alarm

Infighting between regime parliamentarians.

The infighting between various members of the regime’s parliament, a daily scene during Majlis sessions.

The Iranian regime has gone from a blow to blow in recent months. Since the US’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal last year, the regime has had to contend with strict financial sanctions and now the designation of its Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.

The severely diminished position on the international stage has not gone unnoticed at home. The Iranian public is protesting with unprecedented frequency as the nation’s economic crisis deepens. The regime’s insistence that it is the “protector of the poor” looks increasingly like the fiction that it is, as the mullahs’ role in Iran’s economic collapse is becoming more apparent.

Raising the Alarm

The regime has attempted to maintain the veneer of stability, but the cracks are starting to show. Statements of concern from officials pepper the media and messages of alarm have begun to appear in the Iranian Majlis (parliament).

In its May 6 session, Amir Khojasteh, chair of the regime International Policies Commission, vented his frustrations. “This isn’t an economy,” he said, the inflation pressure on people’s shoulders is crushing them. Every day there is a new scenario. One day, it is the dollar and nobody pays attention. One day it is fuel. One day it’s about onions. 8,000 rials onions become 150,000 rials. This is a scenario. Who’s pulling the strings?”

While showing the increasing infighting between different rifts for a bigger share of power, he warned that “When we see inflation in the country and there isn’t a response [from the government], it will upset the people; it has driven the people angry.”

He was not alone in his concerns. His peer, Soheila Jolodarzadeh, raised similar concerns that the Iranian public is reaching the end of its tether. He cited corruption as a major barrier to reconciliation and contributing to the widening gap between the rich and poor.

““When paychecks are not increased according to the inflation rate and following the consequences of the devaluation of the national currency, the situation has become such that you can’t live under these circumstances anymore,” he said.

Lighting the Stack of Discontent

Naghavi Hosseini of the regime Parliament’s Security Commission, revealing the regime’s fear of the people’s protests, warned Hassan Rouhani (regime’s President) that if the price of fuel increases, the Iranian people may rise up in protest. “Today, talks were focused on fuel becoming more expensive. We shouldn’t in any way come to terms with such a thing. Fuel becoming more expensive means igniting the stack of discontent,” he said.

In reality, the stack has already been lit. The Iranian people are tired of the Majlis and the political infighting among all factions of the Iranian leadership. Their calls have been for Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) and her ten-point plan for a democratic Iran.

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INSTEX,Iran Deal,Iran Economy

The UK, France and Germany announcing INSTEX in a press conference

INSTEX: An Economic Savior or Pipe Dream?

The UK, France and Germany announcing INSTEX in a press conference

The Foreign Ministers of the UK, France and Germany announced the formation of a payment channel with Iran called INSTEX- January 2019

It remains unclear exactly how Europe’s INSTEX financial mechanism will impact the Iranian regime. Originally developed as a way to circumvent US sanctions against the Iranian regime, INSTEX continues to baffle regime pundits and analysts.

For the Iranian regime’s state-run media, INSTEX does not go far enough. On May 7, the state-run media broadcasted the following analysis of Europe’s INSTEX program: “After the U.S. exited the JCPOA, the Europeans were supposed to provide for Iran’s interests under the JCPOA framework. However, after one year, Europeans did not want or could not cover those interests.”

The regime criticized Europe: “Europe promise was downgraded to a limited and narrow channel that hasn’t been made operational until now.” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif echoed these criticisms, asserting that Europe had respected “only one percent of its obligations in real terms.”

The European Perspective

The European Union (EU) sees the situation differently. Federica Mogherini, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said: “We are obliged to fully respect all the obligations that are provided by the JCPOA and this must mean for the Iranians to respect all their nuclear obligations.”

The German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urged the Iranian regime to understand the reality of the situation He said: “We’ve made it clear to Iran that we don’t have the capability to cover the losses of European companies who are hit by losses in their business with Iran because of the threat of U.S. sanctions.”

Hope for the Regime?

For Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, INSTEX is a source of hope for the regime. The regime has launched SATMA, its version of INSTEX to facilitate trade between Europe and the regime. He also suggested that SATMA would deal with other stakeholders including Russia and Turkey.

However, the state-run Mehr news agency is less hopeful. It saw Zarif’s optimism as a “bitter joke” and warned that INSTEX is still a pipe dream. “INSTEX is still limited to talk and registration and is far from implementation,” it said.

Tasnim news agency also expressed concerns that without a bank or financial institution willing to cooperate with INSTEX, the company would be unsuccessful in circumventing US sanctions. An unnamed economic official was quoted saying: “Unfortunately, the sanctions have resulted in a situation that no bank is ready to do business with Iran.”

“Now, three months after INSTEX was established, it appears that Iran and Iranian businessmen have got ‘nothing’ and INSTEX has not been able to open a route for trading between Iran and Europe,” Tasnim concluded.

One thing is clear from the debate raging over INSTEX: it will not be the silver bullet the regime was hoping to render US sanctions ineffective. Whatever happens, the US sanctions are biting and the regime’s future in power is looking more precarious by the day.

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Ali Khamenei,Iran Economy,Iran Terrorism,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI

Iran's Petrochemical Industry

Trump Considers More Aggressive Enforcement of Iranian Sanctions

Iran's Petrochemical Industry

Iran’s petrochemical Industry’s revenue fills the coffins of the Supreme Leader and the IRGC to be used for terrorist activities and to fund terrorists.

On Thursday, May 2, the Wall Street Journal published claims made from US officials that President Donald Trump is considering pushing for more rigid enforcement of his sanctions against the Iranian regime. The Trump administration reintroduced economic sanctions against the Iranian regime last year in an attempt to restrict its access to US dollars and reduce its ability to finance terrorist groups across the globe.

The officials cited petrochemical sales to Singapore and the sale of consumer goods to Afghanistan as two revenue sources Trump is particularly interested in restricting.

Spending Revenues on Terror

Under the current Iranian dictatorship, the regime leadership has expanded the Iranian petrochemical industry. It has brought most of the Iranian market under the control of regime-affiliated groups, including the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) which was recently added to the US terror blacklist.

This has allowed the IRGC and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) to use these revenues to finance terror and militia groups across the Middle East and beyond. The IRGC’s proxy forces have been found operating in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Afghanistan.

Former MOIS chief, Ali Fallahian, described on Iranian state TV how the mullahs had diversified the Iranian economy to increase its spending on warmongering and terrorism.

“Many people, including Ali Khamenei, the current supreme leader were insisting that the country should not be totally dependent on oil. So we decided to build the petrochemical industry in Iran. We had $16 billion income from exporting oil at that time. We planned on the export of petrochemical goods and another $16 billion income came from this. Of course, this was back then, now it is much more,” he said.

The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (MEK) recently wrote that according to some experts, Ali Khamenei controls over 90% of the petrochemical industry in Iran. The companies sell petrochemical products to foreign companies in exchange for foreign currencies. They then transfer these currencies through regime-affiliated exchange companies to their intended recipients.

Struan Stevenson: “Eighty Million Iranians Have Lost Their Fear”

These companies can transfer vast sums of cash. Some estimates put these transactions in excess of US$10 billion. These funds, once in the IRGC’s possession, are used to repress the Iranian population within Iran, or funneled to militias and terror groups outside the country.

The US and its European allies have a responsibility to disrupt and prevent the flow of funds from the Iranian regime to its terrorist affiliates abroad. The enforcement of rigid sanctions is one way of doing so. These sanctions are necessary to enhance global stability, reduce the export of terrorism and end the Iranian regime’s malign and nefarious activities across the Middle East and beyond.

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FATF

Regime Factions Fight over Fate of FATF after Terrorist Designation

FATF

The IRGC blacklisting will carry major consequences for the Iranian dictatorship. FATF had previously blacklisted Iranian regime for funding terrorism, and their temporary waiver is believed not to be extended as a result of the recent IRGC terrorist designation.

On April 8th, the United States officially designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) after months of deliberations. The measure carries significant consequences for the Iranian regime, which is already facing severe economic pressure due to U.S. sanctions.

 

One of the most pressing issues for the Iranian regime in light of the FTO designation is the diminishing possibility of the country’s acceptance into the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The FATF is an international coalition that works to prevent money laundering and funding of terrorism. The FTO designation puts the possibility of FATF approval in severe jeopardy. It would be difficult to argue that the regime should be part of an anti-terrorism task force after its military has been labeled as a terrorist organization.

Factional Infighting

The regime’s various factions have been fighting for months about whether or not to comply with the terms necessary to become members in good standing with the FATF. Hard-liners say that the FATF rules will prevent the regime from acting as it pleases, while “moderates” argue that FATF membership is essential to preventing further isolation from the international community. Bills to confirm membership in the FATF have stalled in the regime’s Majlis (parliament) for months.

Ahmad Tavakoli, a member of the Expediency Discernment Council, said that Iran is unlikely to gain approval for the FATF after the IRGC’s designation as a terrorist organization. He urged the regime to stop seeking FATF approval, claiming that it would be seen as a concession to the United States. He further recommended that the regime’s Majlis abandon the bill in its entirety, lest in emboldening the U.S.

 

Reza Ansari, who is close to Rouhani’s “moderate” faction, took the opposite side of the argument. He said that the FTO designation was “a trap” meant to “bait” Iran into making “harsh and angry decisions” like leaving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, in order to justify further actions against the regime. He argued that abandoning the FATF bills or making other rash decisions would be the worst thing the regime could do right now. “Currently, the best gift for the hardliners is unnecessary self-harm such as boycotting the FATF bills, losing one’s ‘strategic patience’, and embarking on ill-advised action that the thinkers and propaganda machine of the warmongering party can capitalize on,” he said.

 

Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, Chair of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Relations Committee, argued a middle ground approach to the situation. He cautioned against making a decision about the FATF based on politics and said that the bill should be reviewed before an informed decision is made. He warned that a political decision would harm the country.

A Weak Position

The regime has responded to the IRGC designation with claims that it is united against the U.S. and that the terrorist label will have little effect. This is a common talking point from the mullahs when challenged, and it falls apart upon even the slightest scrutiny. The FTO designation carries significant consequences for the regime in both the short and long term, and despite the regime’s claims of unity, this most recent crisis has exposed more of the infighting between factions in the government.

Regime Reacts to Implications of IRGC Terrorist Listing with Growing Alarm and Confusion

The End of the Era of Appeasement

The MEK and the Iranian Resistance have called for the IRGC to be blacklisted by the international community for its terrorist activities for many years, and the recent action by the United States is a welcome step toward recognizing the regime’s role in domestic and international terrorism.

The FTO designation was an unprecedented action against a foreign government’s military and came as a shock to many who were not familiar with the IRGC. The Revolutionary Guards have met the criteria for a Foreign Terrorist Organization for many years though, and their inclusion on the terror list is a decisive step toward the end of the era of appeasement to the mullahs.

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Iran's economy

Iranian Regime Chooses Isolation at the Expense of its Own Survival

Iran's economy

InfoGraphic credit to IranNewsWire- Iran’s economy, the source of financing terrorism while the Iranian people live in poverty.

The Iranian regime is facing a series of unprecedented challenges that could lead to the end of its rule. The ever-worsening economic crisis, the growing popular protest movement, the rise of the MEK Resistance Units, the reinstatement of crippling U.S. sanctions, and the regime’s increasing isolation among the international community have led many officials within the regime to fear that the forty-year reign of the mullahs might be at its end.

Ali Rabiei, a former Iranian intelligence officer and regime President Hassan Rouhani’s Minister of Labor until 2018, expressed his deep fear for the regime’s future when he said, “The Persian year ends while very few people expected such an end at its beginning. Fast developments in international relations and global rules, economic uncertainty, and a change in people’s perceptions and values.”

Rabiei then blamed U.S. sanctions for economic issues that existed prior to 2018. “We started last year with [U.S. President Donald] Trump’s threats and his unilateral sanctions. A lack of readiness for an internal and effective counteraction and some wrong decisions made us end the year in a not very well situation,” he said.

Mutual Economic Dependency

Referring to the disastrous effects of Iran’s growing isolation in the international community Rabiei said, “Some people still don’t believe in the fact of globalization and an increasing and irreversible mutual economic dependency of the world and interpret economic and social issues with a view limited to internal political competition.”

He added, “Policies and decisions also showed that we lack a structural readiness and sufficient knowledge and experience for crisis situations.”

Rabiei also alluded to the possibility of a popular uprising leading to the overthrow of the regime. He said, “I believe that if we continue the new Persian year as before, there won’t be a bright prospect in front of us and I very much imagine the possibility of social movements and turning of conceptual upheavals into the physical realm.”

Mostafa Tajzadeh, a well-known figure in the “moderate” faction, also made the argument that Iran cannot survive while remaining isolated from the international community. He said, “I predict a very difficult year for the country in the economic sector.”

Tajzadeh said that “Especially if the sanctions aren’t lifted and continue, the economic situation will become more complicated and difficult. Rouhani’s government hasn’t much space to maneuver under the sanctions” he said.

A Lack of Friends in the International Community

Mohammad Gholi Yousefi, an economist with close ties to Rouhani’s faction, agreed that Iran’s lack of friends was costing it dearly. “The country’s economy isn’t well, there have been no investments, the country’s manufacturing industry’s production has decreased dramatically, and agriculture isn’t in a good shape. In terms of international issues, we haven’t been able to have wide-reaching engagement and solve our issues on the international stage so that we can have a good situation in terms of trading or attracting foreign investments. Unfortunately, we don’t have many friends among world countries and sanctions are increasing,” he said.

“Problems are aggregating and will show themselves one day,” Yousef added.

Self-Destruction Before Defeat

Iran’s isolation from the international community is certainly a problem for the regime, but it is far from the only problem facing the country. Decades of corruption and mismanagement have left the economy in ruins. The U.S. sanctions have exacerbated a problem that had already brought thousands of people into the streets to demand the overthrow of the regime during the nationwide uprisings in December 2017/January 2018.

Further, the mullahs are unlikely to bow to pressure to comply with sanctions. The same hubris, incompetence, and corruption that led to the economic crisis and the sanctions will ultimately sabotage any attempts at seeking real solutions.

Regime pundits may talk about solutions, but given the fact, the country is run by the regime Supreme Leader, and given the inhumane nature of the corrupt dictatorship that has no value for its people’s lives,

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Ali Khamenei, regime's supreme leader

Khamenei’s “Hopeful” Nowruz Speech Paints Dismal Portrait of Iran

Ali Khamenei, regime's supreme leader

Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Iranian regime.

Regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in his recent speech published in his website, on the occasion of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, in which he tried to portray the spectacular failures of the past year in a positive light and to deflect blame for the growing economic and political crises within the country on rival factions within his own government and unnamed “enemies.”

Despite his justifications and blame-passing, though, Khamenei was unable to deny that the past twelve months have been difficult for both the Iranian people and the regime. Once again, the Supreme Leader attempted to give a message of hope and inadvertently reaffirmed that the regime is close to collapse.

Growing Resistance

Khamenei mentioned the growing protest movement in the country, led by the MEK and the Iranian Resistance, when he said, “We surpassed a very adventurous year. Our enemies had plans for the Iranian people.” Khamenei often refers to the MEK as “the enemy” and has expressed his fear that the organization could overthrow the regime on a number of occasions.

 

Khamenei falsely claimed to have the support of the people, saying, “The people… showed a strong response in the political and economic perspectives.” He also said that the regime was popular with the people, noting that the regime had celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution at a rally on February 11th. He failed to point out that the rally was widely boycotted by the Iranian people.

Economic Crisis

The regime Supreme Leader referred to the economic crisis that has left 80% of the Iranian people living below the poverty line as an “issue.”  He said, “Economically, we have many issues. The lowering value of the national currency is an important matter. So is the people’s purchasing power. The problems facing our factories, unemployment, and in some cases, some of our factories closing down. These are issues,”

Khamenei, who has allowed Iran to sink further into economic crisis, said that he had a simple solution to all of the country’s problems. “I have studied these issues and listened to the experts. The key to all these issues is developing our national production.”

He elaborated on his plan, which is an extension of the same failed plan he tried last year. “We named last year, 1397, as the year of Supporting Iranian Products,’” he said. “I can’t say this motto was completely implemented. However, I can say that this slogan was acknowledged at a wide scale.” According to Khamenei, 1398 will be the year of “Production Growth.”

“If production is launched as it should, it can solve both our poor living standards and provide what we are in need of from foreigners, including countries that are our enemies. It can also resolve our unemployment and national currency issues to a significant extent,” he added.

Khamenei’s words illustrate the current state of the regime. The only piece of good news the Supreme Leader could share was that the regime had made it through a year of protests and economic upheaval without collapsing. Khamenei’s half-baked plan for economic recovery was a rehash of last year’s half-baked plan, which failed so completely that workers across the country have been forced to strike after working for months without wages. It is a New Day in Iran, and the mullahs are stuck in the past.

Staff writer

 

 

 

 

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