NEW YORK, June 20 (IPS) – The Islamic Republic of Iran is facing widespread anti-government protests amid an economic crisis, while doing little to ease tensions with the international community as it becomes a nuclear-weapon state.
Its continued lack of co-operation and transparency with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) heralds the demise of the Iranian nuclear deal and poses a potential threat not only to Iran’s future but also to the international community.
Many Iranians fear that Tehran’s current course of action exposes the country to a military conflict that could potentially destroy Iran and its economy as it stands.
Negotiations to revive Iran’s nuclear deal, which would limit Iran’s ability to build an atomic bomb, have failed because the United States has refused to ask remove IRGC from American foreign terrorist organizations‘list.
In response to the Transparency Agency’s request for traces of uranium found at three undeclared sites, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi rejected the resolution, saying: “The Islamic Republic will not take even one step back from its positions.”
The regime removed 27 surveillance cameras used by the agency to monitor its nuclear facilities. The action violates the IAEA’s “continuity of knowledge” about Iran’s nuclear facilities, calling for the case to escalate to the UN Security Council if Iran does not co-operate by September.
The lack of cooperation from Tehran has already affected Iran currency value and puts a military confrontation on the table in September, probably earlier if the Islamic Republic’s leadership does not change course.
The easing package would include more $ 100 billion in oil revenues, which are currently held as frozen assets in Chinese, South Korean and Indian banks. Iran will also miss the flow of trade and investment opportunities and cannot rely on oil exports as its main source of income.
In addition, more than four decades of economic isolation, sanctions and mismanagement have made Iran’s economy vulnerable to the effects of Russian invasion of Ukraine. When the war broke out, inflation in Iran was unprecedented 43.3%.
Russia’s continued attack on Ukraine has exacerbated Iran’s economic downturn. Ever since the war started, 60% of Iran’s annual grain imports from Russia and Ukraine are now at risk. Many ships carrying millions of tonnes of grain remain stranded in Ukraine’s Black Sea ports Russian blockade.
The war also threatens Iran the last economic lifeline, revenues from oil exports, which have already been severely sanctioned. Iran is now competing with Russia, the world’s second-largest oil exporter, looking for other buyers for their discounted oil, as the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union have sanctioned Russian oil imports.
Before the war, China was Iran’s largest oil buyer. However, Iran’s crude oil exports to China declined after Russia launched an offensive in February, along with increased Russian oil exports to China.
The Islamic Republic’s foreign policy and resource allocation have only hurt Iran’s financial prospects and demonstrated their priorities. Instead of compromising on improving their people, Iranian leaders have cut subsidies on flour-based products amid global wheat shortages to give the IRGC a financial opportunity to operate and fund their nuclear, drone and missile programs. The decision to reduce subsidies led to a 300% increase in the prices of bread.
Many Iranians struggled to cope with rising food prices such as oil, chicken, eggs and rice, even before the global food shortage. What disappoints Iranians is that even if Iran changes its foreign policy and gains access to its financial resources, there is still strong doubt that it will improve the lives of Iranians.
IN severe economic climate caused civil unrest throughout Iran. The economic protests quickly turned into political ones. Among other anti-government chants, chants such as “Our enemy is here.”
Despite their unwillingness to feed their people, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei, and his network of IRGC generals have shown a desire to the ability to crush mass protests using the IRGC security forces, police and intelligence services.
The lack of Iranian representation, political freedom, free elections, and media coverage of this failure to provide basic human needs have forced almost every corner of society, from students to retirees, to take to the streets, deliberately risking their lives. Sanctioned by the United States, war-torn, abandoned by Khamenei and crushed by the IRGC, the Iranians have nowhere to turn.
In addition to the economic problems facing the Iranians over Tehran’s poor governance, they now face a greater threat, a potential military conflict. On Thursday, after Iran rejected the IAEA resolution, The United States has proposed bipartisan legislation to help Israel and the GCC countries improve their air defenses to prepare against the growing Iranian threat. Israel is already conducting Air Force exercises over the Mediterranean.
Tehran’s hardline policy and lack of transparency with the IAEA threaten Iranian livelihoods and international security in general. His leadership now holds the future not only of their citizens, but of the entire Middle East and other parts of the world if Iran becomes a nuclear nation.
Suppose Iran fails to comply with the IAEA resolution in September and Iran is considered a threat. In that case, the case with Iran could be moved to the UN Security Council, where Iranians expect harsher punishments or, worse, military conflict.
Whether Iran remains a threshold nuclear power or decides to build atomic bombs, it will eventually call for military action against itself, which will destroy Iran’s economy without repair and leave Iranian livelihoods as a concomitant damage.
Gazal Weiss was born in Iran, an international analyst focusing on the evolution of authoritarianism in the modern world. Her writings have appeared in Middle Eastern Institute, Independent Farsiand Iran International.
IPS Office of the United Nations
© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter press service