Much of the discussion about politics in the Islamic Republic of Iran focuses on the characteristics of “the regime” and the attitudes and beliefs of a select few political offices and organizations (e.g., the leader, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, or particular political factions). Political economy is either relegated to the margins or reduced to macroeconomic indicators, such as oil revenue. With the ever-tightening US and international sanction regime, economic factors make their way into media accounts and policy papers, but only as a mechanism to “bring the Islamic Republic to the negotiation table” or a trigger for a revolutionary uprising. Despite the narrowness of this understanding of Iranian politics, the multitude of protests, strikes, and vociferous and courageous struggles by working-class communities and professional classes highlight the need to consider how political-economic fault lines run through society. They disaggregate “the mullahs” or “the regime” in important ways.
In a surprise overnight announcement on November 15, Iran hiked gas prices—by up to 300 percent—and introduced a new rationing system. The government’s goal was to raise funds to help the poor, but it backfired. Protests erupted across the country. The sudden move followed rising inflation and biting U.S. sanctions, which had already raised the prices on basic goods.
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) today released “Iran Military Power,” an intelligence product that examines the core capabilities of Iran's military. This volume in DIA's series of military power reports provides details on Iran's defense and military goals, strategy, plans, and intentions. It examines the organization, structure and capability of the military supporting those goals, as well as the enabling infrastructure and industrial base.
Longstanding trade relations between Iran and China have deepened since the U.S. imposed punitive economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic in November 2018. Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi called the two countries “comprehensive strategic partners” during a visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in August 2019.
In late 2019, Iran faced challenges to its influence in Iraq and Lebanon that, for the first time in a more than a decade, weakened its hold on two countries critical to its regional ambitions. Protesters in both countries criticized Tehran’s role in their domestic politics. Iran and its allies responded with heavy-handed tactics that failed to quell the protests.
2019-11-05Iran Is Doing Just Fine. Tehran Has Survived U.S. Sanctions. Its Nuclear Program and Regional Activities Will, Too.
A year ago this week, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump kicked off what it called a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. The United States had withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018. [...] Rather, Iran now enters its second year under maximum pressure strikingly confident in its economic stability and regional position. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and other hard-liners are therefore likely to continue on their current course: Iran will go on tormenting the oil market while bolstering its non-oil economy—and it will continue expanding its nuclear program while refusing to talk with Washington.
... At first glance, this seems to support the Trump administration’s claims that its “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign is bringing the Iranian economy to the brink of collapse. But this view is challenged by the IMF’s projection that the decline will halt in 2020, when Iran’s economy will rebound to zero growth—despite the sanctions. A closer examination reveals an economic recovery is already underway, as stability returns to consumer prices, manufacturing, trade, and the Iranian currency. Somewhat counterintuitively, this could improve the prospects of talks between Iran and the U.S. A stable economy may reassure the Islamic Republic that it can negotiate from a position of some strength. ...
Russia offers to establish an organization with the participation of Russia, the US, EU states and other countries in order to resolve the issues in the Persian Gulf, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed on Thursday during the plenary session of the Valdai Discussion Club.
An Iranian official has announced that the UK-flagged tanker Stena Impero was free to leave. Remember the Stena Impero? This is the tanker the IRGC arrested after the Empire committed an act of piracy on the high seas and seized the Iranian tanker Grace 1. Col Cassad posted a good summary of this info-battle, blow by blow (corrected machine translation): ...An Iranian official has announced that the UK-flagged tanker Stena Impero was free to leave. Remember the Stena Impero? This is the tanker the IRGC arrested after the Empire committed an act of piracy on the high seas and seized the Iranian tanker Grace 1. Col Cassad posted a good summary of this info-battle, blow by blow (corrected machine translation): ...
2019-09-25The U.S. and Iran Are Still Worlds Apart on a Deal At the UN, America and Iran talk at each other and refuse to meet.
They came not to negotiate, but to demand. The United Nations General Assembly brought together, in the same city at least, the American and Iranian presidents—neither of whom as of today had made so much as a feint toward a handshake. But each came with their list of grievances. ...