There’s no shortage of rhetoric coming from the rattled Iranian regime. And at the end of the day, bombast may be the only tool at their disposal.
Rampant corruption and the government’s mismanagement of the oil rich nation’s economy had already seen the economy sinking before US President Donald Trump took exception to Iran’s meddling in regional conflicts. Not to mention the ineffective nuclear deal signed by former US President Barack Obama, which Trump has tossed into the bin.
Clearly concerned with rising public backlash and protests, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered officials to urgently find solutions to ease the economic crisis spurred by the re-imposition of US sanctions, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
US targets the Iranian economy
After Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 deal, which lifted sanctions in return for limits on Iran’s nuclear program, the US moved to restrict Iran’s currency trade metals and auto sector.
On 4 November, the US will begin to target Iran’s vital oil sector in an effort to cripple the Iranian economy.
As RAW reports, the existing restriction, instituted in August, combined with rising inflation and unemployment, a slump in the rial, and state corruption have already caused Iran’s economy to falter.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts Iran’s economy will shrink 1.5% this year and 3.6% in 2019. Beyond that the IMF forecasts a gradual recovery. But that will largely depend on whether Iran returns to the negotiating table over their nuclear program.
According to Fars, Khamenei told officials:
‘There are no problems in the country that we cannot resolve… Officials should find solutions to overcome the existing economic hardship and to disappoint the enemy by resolving it. With unity we can overcome all crises.’
Khamenei hopes Iran can resist the pressure of US sanctions by relying on its own natural and human resources.
State TV quoted Khamenei’s almost desperate pleas as the nation looks set to lose billions of dollars in much needed revenues when US sanctions begin to bite into its oil industry:
‘We need extraordinary efforts … to find solutions for those domestic economic challenges and to confront cruel American sanctions. Serious decisions should be made.’
The cost of living has soared in Iran in the past months, RAW reports. Iranians struggling to make ends meet and pay for basic services have seen crowds demonstrating against profiteering and corruption.
In an ominous sign for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who championed the 2015 nuclear deal, many protesters have been chanting anti-government slogans. Whether their frustrations will boil over to target Khamenei’s hardline Islamist regime, remains to be seen.
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