by Navid Felker
Thousands of Iranians are once again publicly expressing their anger at the government. Last week hundreds of merchants in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar closed their shops to protest failed economic policies.
The continuing protests that have followed the turn of the year uprising that raged across Iran are indicative of the widespread discontent of the country’s people. For decades, the government has disregarded the economic conditions of its citizenry.
Leadership has focused on destabilizing Iran’s neighbors, instead. Disregard for the norms of international relations and good governance domestically put Iran in its current economically disastrous position.
Its economy depends on income from its oil and gas sectors, but much of its oil and gas revenues goes to support its various militias in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Iran is considered a “rogue regime” because it refuses to abide by the laws, conventions, and norms of international relations. Now, not only are Iran’s neighbors and the United States demanding that the regime stops its support for terrorist groups and operations, but the Iranian people themselves have joined in those demands.
The uprising early this year spread from the educated elites of Tehran to the regime’s base of support in cities like Mashhad. The protesters chanted “death to high prices” and “death to the dictator” making it clear that they are tired of ineffectual economic policies of their leaders that have resulted in economic stagnation and political isolation.
The US has exited from the agreement that they and five other nations signed with Iran in 2015, that put limits on Tehran’s nuclear activities in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. The US views Iran as the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Iran is now subject to economic sanctions again. News reports suggest that the US is asking the nations who import Iranian oil to reduce the amount they buy or potentially face sanctions themselves.
Since US President Trump’s announcement, Iranian currency, the rial, has continues to drop in value. It has lost almost 50 percent of its value.
As well, the Iranian government’s neglect of the infrastructure in the country has resulted in significant electricity blackouts in the capital and beyond.
Tehran’s Grand Bazaar protest attained significant attention worldwide. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated on his official Twitter account, “Iran’s corrupt regime is wasting the country’s resources on Assad, Hezbollah, Hamas & Houthis, while Iranians struggle. It should surprise no one (the) Iran protests continue.”