In May, U.S. President Donald Trump set in motion events that shifted relations between the U.S. and Iran. He announced that the U.S. was leaving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and that would be renewed. In addition, the Trump administration is not giving waivers to allies, thus attempting to strangle the oil industry in Iran.
The Iranian economy is already taking a hit, as the rial drops in value and inflation rises. The Iranian government under President Rouhani has replaced the chief of the Central Bank as one of its efforts to address the economic issues in Iran, but there has been little positive impact.
Protests Grow and Iran Plans Military Actions
According to various sources, protests are on the rise in Iran. The Iranian people want action taken for the squandering of the country’s natural resources, as well as the struggling economy. Chants for regime change have resulted in repressive measures being taken by the security forces of the regime, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
“By defying the criminal Revolutionary Guards, Bassijis, and plainclothes agents once again today, the arisen women and youth represent a defiant generation which will not rest until the Iranian people and nation are free. They displayed the anger and hatred f the Iranian people toward the religious dictatorship ruling Iran,” said Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
In the meantime, the U.S. indicated that it believes Iran is preparing to carry out military exercises in the Gulf, apparently moving up its annual drills. Senior Iranian officials have noted that they will not easily yield to U.S. efforts to strangle their oil industry, and that includes threats of action in the waters around Iran.
“We are aware of the increase in Iranian naval operations within the Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and Gulf of Oman,” said U.S. Navy Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman at Central Command, which oversees the U.S. forces in the Middle East. “We are monitoring it closely and will continue to work with our partners to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in international waterways.”
The timing of the drills appears to be a message of force to the Trump administration in light of the renewed sanctions, many of which go into effect in the coming months. The first lot is expected to be renewed on August 7. The U.S. sanctions have already impacted the value of the rial and protests indicate that the economy is continuing to sour.
Regime Fears Uprising Amid Tensions
The regime has been quick to address any protests, using whatever methods necessary to break them up. However, the protests continue throughout the country, as industries from shipment to oil feel the economic realities of the decisions of the regime.
Other protesters note that Iran has spent money on military operations, funds that could be better spent at home addressing the Iranian infrastructure and building up industries to create jobs and make Iran a more appealing place to do business.
Protesters are routinely attacked with tear gas, despite their relatively peaceful gathering where their opinions of the regime are being voiced.