Iran’s power posturing is designed to disguise the fact that the country is weakening from within.
The recent unrest in Iran has confirmed what many attuned to domestic conditions in the Islamic Republic have long known: that an explosion was not a matter of if, but of when.
The destructive reach of the Islamic Republic of Iran from Africa to South America and via Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq is hardly disputed. Yet this destructive influence serves the hesitance of many in the West to confront what appears as a strong and threatening regime. The riots and demonstration may have faded – but not the realities that created them. And this might provide an important policy lesson: Islamic regime’s power posturing is designed to hide its true weaknesses.
Iran’s economy is in shambles. The days of high oil prices are long gone, and national resources are almost depleted. Despite the JCPOA – an agreement aimed at opening the Iranian market to international investors – Iran’s economy remains in stagflation, with very little prospects for improvement in sight. Iran’s military is over-extended in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, putting further strain on the limited available resources. Inefficient economic policies and endemic corruption waists the rest of the available resources leaving very little for the masses.
In the months and weeks leading up to the current protests, thousands had already taken to the streets in most major cities in the country, demanding an answer to these deficiencies and corruptions.
On the 10th of February, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged his country’s elite to unite in the face of threats by Washington, since the new US Administration, under President Donald Trump, increasingly demonstrates a new, and tougher range of options to be used against the Islamic Republic, pertaining to Tehran’s ongoing violations.
To discuss the growing tension between the two countries and the implications on the Middle East, I’m join here in the studio by:
Dr. Nir Boms, Research Fellow, Moshe Dayan Center – Tel Aviv University
Dr. Ephraim Kam, Senior Researcher – INSS
Analyst: Mr. Amir Oren
As the last debates in the U.S. Senate fade away and President Rouhani receives a hero’s welcome in the UN, it is worthwhile to note the new alliances the U.S. has formed in the wake of this “New middle East.” Chief amongst them is NIAC, the National Iranian American Council, who played a major role in developing and advocating for the nuclear deal. Iran, according to NIAC, will embark on a new path of moderation, human rights and democracy, worlds away from what is actually taking place in Iran as these deliberations continued. Optimism can be an easy sell – but reality is no less important.
In a recent Huffington Post article, NIAC’s president, Dr. Trita Parsi, argued that the nuclear deal will not only prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and a devastating war, but also that it will “improve the prospects for Iran moving in a positive direction internally – in terms of democratization and human rights.” To further his point that a nuclear deal will benefit those fighting for human rights on the ground in Iran, Mr. Parsi refers to “an unprecedented group of Iranian human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists” that have “come out in a massive wave in support of the agreement.” Continue reading