The Trump administration made it clear that they were going to use sanctions to bring the Iranian regime to the negotiation table. There is already evidence that the sanctions are having the desired effect, as inflation continues to rise in Iran. The recent round of sanctions are focused on Iran’s energy and banking sectors.
Iranian officials are dismissive of the impact of the sanctions, arguing that the Iranian economy is doing just fine. Meanwhile, strikes and demonstrations are on the rise, and the Iranian resistance continues to call on international human rights organizations and trade unions around the world to support the various industries that are striking.
“America wanted to cut to zero Iran’s oil sales…but we will continue to sell our oil…to break sanctions,” said Iranian President Rouhani. “This is an economic war against Iran but…America should learn that it cannot use the language of force against Iran…We are prepared to resist any pressure.”
However, there is evidence that Iran’s economy has been struggling for years, despite the lifting of sanctions due to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Now that the sanctions are being put back in place by the U.S., the rial is losing value and the regime is struggling to suppress the civil unrest throughout Iran.
Iranian Economy Suffering Super Inflation
The level of inflation in Iran is increasing and economic experts have said that it is all but eliminated the Iranian middle class. 80% of the Iranian population currently lives in poverty and only approximately 14 million Iranian are in permanent and stable jobs. Another 9 million are working, but their jobs are not considered stable, making their ability to care for their families difficult.
“The energy of politicians in the sectors of industry, services, and agriculture is used exclusively in political and factional infighting,” said the state-run ILNA News Agency. “Factions are merely thinking of consolidating power rather than boosting employment.”
Transparency International writes that Iran is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, being ranked 130 out of 180 countries in February 2017. Factories throughout Iran are worried about the latest economic downturn, and have called for aid to address their outdated technology and other systematic issues that make it difficult for them to compete on the global market.
Iranian Resistancef Stepping Up Activities
As Iran deals with an increasing economic and social crisis, the Iranian resistance, which includes the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the PMOI/MEK, is also stepping up its activities. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI, continues to encourage Iranians to support those who are striking and even to strike themselves to create change in Iran.
In Tehran and Shiraz, members of the resistance are putting up posters and staging anti-regime protests. However, other Iranians are staging their own protests, including university students. Despite the efforts of the regime to suppress the Iranian people, it is clear that the recent shifts, both economic and social, are making it difficult to keep them from speaking out.