In Iran, the economy was troubled, even though the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was meant to help it improve after years of sanctions. Instead, the economy continued to struggle and with the threat of impending sanctions on its oil industry, the Iranian regime is facing high inflation, a devalued rial, and continued high unemployment.
Protests and demonstrations are now a daily part of life in Iran, as economic and social issues take front and center. Despite efforts by the regime to stamp out these protests, including arrests of individuals thought to be organizing them, there are questions about how much longer the Iranian regime can maintain their power. The two factions in the regime are fighting constantly, and it appears that the U.S. pressure is causing further divisions.
U.S. policy on Iran
“When I came into here, it was a question of when would they take over the Middle East,” said Trump on Thursday during a meeting with Bloomberg News. “Now it’s a question of will they survive. It’s a big difference in one and a half years.”
The President did not elaborate further on his comment, leading to more speculation. The Trump administration pulled the U.S. out of the JCPOA in May. They have support from various neighboring states in the region, but Europe is still trying to hold the JCPOA together.
Sanctions seen as way to strangle regime
While the Iranian people take the brunt of the sanctions in terms of the impact on the economy, the sanctions also empower the people to stand up to the regime and demand answers. Protests are fueled by the sanctions, as individuals and families feel the bite of a failing economy.
Inflation continues to increase, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been called before the Iranian parliament to explain his policies. There is clearly a sense that change of some kind is on the horizon. Meanwhile, the Ayatollah Khamenei has ruled out talks with the U.S. Iran’s oil industry is scheduled to face sanctions starting in November and Iran has threatened the Strait of Hormuz if those sanctions go into effect and their exports are significantly reduced.
The Trump administration has a goal of limiting Iranian oil sales to close to zero, and oil prices in Iran have already dropped as the regime attempts to entice countries to continue purchasing from them. Yet, August export numbers show that countries are not willing to risk U.S. penalties and they are moving to alternative sources.