For many Iranians, the struggle to provide for their families is a real one. Prices continue to rise, and the regime’s promises of economic benefits following the lifting of various sanctions following the 2015 nuclear agreement have not materialized. In December of last year, protests erupted, due in part to the release of a new budget that showed regime cronies and religious organizations getting more money from the government, while subsidies to the poorest Iranians were being cut.
Additionally, there have been multiple protests regarding unpaid wages in a variety of industries. Environmental issues have plagued various rural areas of #Iran, yet the regime refused offers of international aid for its people, essentially leaving them to go it alone.
Euromoney Iran Conference
In light of this current reality in Iran, the Euromoney Iran Conference was held in #Paris in early February 2018. Its aim was to bring together Iranian bankers and industrial leaders with their international counterparts, with the plan to discuss and debate key issues regarding the Iranian economy. Iranian Central Bank governor Valiollah Sief seemed to indicate the possibility of Iran’s full cooperation with the international community, including implementing the standards created by the Financial Action Task Force.
One of the potential obstacles, however, are the choices being made by the regime to continue to fund various militias throughout the Middle East, some of which are labeled terrorist organizations by the international community. As a result, some parties are calling for countermeasures to be imposed on the country for this funding.
The Iranian economy continues to suffer various hits, such as the major and unexpected devaluation of the Rial on the free currency market. Beyond any other economic reasons, however, the change seems to be a reflection of the discord evident throughout Iran. There is a disconnect between the regime and its people.
In addition to that, there is increasing international pressure being brought to bear on Iran’s government, including its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is widely seen as an enforcer of the will of the Supreme Leader, both inside and outside of Iran.
What it all boils down to is the fact that Iran has continued to engage militarily with #Syria, #Lebanon, #Iraq, #Yemen, #Israel and many other countries throughout the Middle East. Depending on who you talk to, Iran is seen as a meddling nuisance or a real threat to the national security of some countries. Hezbollah is funded by the regime through the IRGC, and it is clear that Iran now has a hand in Lebanon’s politics, whether the Lebanese people want them or not.
Time and again, it has been noted that Iran looks for cracks in a country’s political system and works to exploit them. If there is unrest, then the regime seems intent on adding fuel to the fire. It means that in Syria, they are on the side of Assad’s government, while in Yemen, they are siding with the rebels. There are only two constants to the Iranian regime’s military strategy: their hatred of Saudi Arabia and their loathing of Israel.
2015 Nuclear Agreement
When funds were released to the Iranian government after the signing of the 2015 nuclear agreement, it seemed that the Iranian people were finally going to benefit. Instead, the regime has used the money to fund its wars and military endeavors. Now that the money has been spent, they are going to continue to fund these efforts on the backs of the Iranian people.
Many of these military actions are meant to be a distraction to the Iranian people, to keep them from questioning their government too deeply. After all, a people will come together when they are at war, something seen in history time and time again.
Yet this scenario is losing its appeal with the Iranian people, who have begun to protest more frequently in a variety of industries and locations throughout Iran. The people have not yet organized to a level that involves the overthrow of the Iranian regime, but it is clear that the mullahs’ efforts to repress the Iranian people are beginning to fail. Where that will lead Iran next could mean the international community is sitting across the table looking at a new government and a new set of leaders focused on leading the Iranian people, not just using them.