Iran: Rouhani’s Crude Misfortune

Hishem Melhem, while narrating the decline of oil prices, provides the broader crux of the economic situation in Iran, which according to him is on the road of completely collapsing under the current Iranian regime. 

The crashing oil prices, even though have been celebratory for the American population, are a nightmare for the oil empires of Russia, Iran and Venezuela in particular. If the price of oil remains in the neighborhood of $60 per barrel (bbl) for much of the year, the economic impact on Russia, Venezuela and especially Iran could be disastrous.

The precipitous fall in the price of oil has forced governments all over the world as well as the international financial institutions to review their investments and risk assessments for 2015 and beyond. Even countries like Saudia Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait, with abundant foreign currency reserves, will be forced to adjust their balance payments. Iran, at the center of this global crisis, will suffer the unprecedented consequences where it already wavering because of its aching international sanctions. 

The impact of oil prices, has weaved Iran into a web of interlinked consequences for both its own progress and its relations with other countries, for it seems that Ali Khamenei, because of the policies he made , would need an economic miracle to survive the year of 2015. The international sanctions have decimated Iran’s currency and reduced its oil export from 2.5 million bpd in 2011 to barely 1,050,000 bpd currently. One would here question the extent of this ruler’s possibility to bring Iran back from the shackles of an economic mess, when this coincides with the obligations to the survival of the Assad regime in Syria that has grown significantly in the last two years, being an economic and human drain on Iran. Is the cost of aiding Syria in a time of economic turmoil, worth it, when this can lead to the compromise of the basic needs of its own growing population? The current resistance to the Iranian dictatorship, National Council of Resistance of Iran, (NCRI), highlights the role that Iran has been playing in Syria where, the Iranian regime deposited $500-$750 million in Syria’s Central Bank more than a year ago that has been used by the authorities to help stabilize the currency, at the expense of its own people. The current rulers here must rethink their actions, ones that might cause Iran to permanently be tied down economically and socially. 

A nuclear deal in Iran could lead to sanction relief, one that is greatly needed to stabilize the country.  However, would Ali Khamenei, make the necessary and painful compromises in order to reach this settlement? American officials doubt that the regime’s Supreme leader is willing to compromise. For the NCRI, as stated in their Ten Point Plan for the future of Iran, Maryam Rajavi, the elected President of this Iranian Resistance claims that a democratic, equal and free Iran can never be born unless, there is a non-nuclear Iran, free of weapons of mass destruction.