Posted tagged ‘Iranian economy’

Iran: Several factors Cause Closure of Factories and Economic Crisis

April 28, 2017

Iran: Several factors Cause Closure of Factories and Economic Crisis, Iran News Update, April 27, 2017

Iran’s economy was collapsing and the JCPOA saved it. President Rouhani claims this as an achievement of his tenure.  Still, evaluations and analyses seem to show that industry and industrial corporations are in crisis within Iran.

Nasim, a news website in Iran, writes, “The closure of more than 30 famous brands and old established factories, such as Arj, Darougar, Azmayesh, Pars Electric, Isfahan polyacryle, IRANA tile, Tabriz Machine manufacturing, Iztech, Isaac bicycles, Varamin Sugar Factory, Swan Oil Factory, Ray Textiles and Iran wood, are only portion of the important country’s production companies that have pulled down their shutters during Rouhani’s presidency.

Nasim continues, “Rouhani is the one who had promised flourishing of the Iranian economy in 100 days. Not only has he not improved people’s living standards these past 4 years, but according to most economy activists and experts, the economy has reached an unprecedented recession in its years after the revolution. One of the results of his economic activities was an economic downturn and the closure of famous brands whose names are associated with the lives of all Iranians. Unofficial statistics indicate that closure of these brands have led about one million people being unemployed in past four years.”

Marketing and / or management weaknesses or quality issues  cause businesses to lose their market share, close or become bankrupt, to be replaced by new brands. However, the situation in Iran is concerning because of the number of closures and the history of the brands, all of them  famous for quality and profitability. The closures were not due to better products being created in Iran, but rather that mass legal and illegal imports have replaced domestic production and caused the closure of factories.

Manufacturing centers competing in other countries are typically replaced when a cheaper, more modern or more appealing product takes over the market and puts their competition out of business. If the business corrects its course, then it once again returns to market. If you need Financial help with your business an ABL credit facilityx can help you grow your income.

“Under the Iranian regime, when factories are shut down, it is forever and their workers are, without any support, placed out of work and their lives become endangered,” according to an article published by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), who also notes that “bankruptcy of this large number of industries and factories logically cannot be entirely the product of a period of 4 years. The destruction of so many industries is the result of a total economic policy of the country. It has nothing to do with the governing of this faction or that faction. Statistics, for example, indicate during Ahmadinejad’s presidency, 50-70% of the factories were shut down. The difference between Rouhani and others lay in the fact that he claims to have a key for solving these economic problems and claimed to have achieved economic growth and lowered inflation. Meanwhile, closures, bankruptcies, unemployment and people’s empty tables are there. Deceitfully, Rouhani claims that the economy has improved.”

Several causes may be cited for the closure of factories, in particular the oldest ones, but the NCRI cites  the following important factors:

• Transfer of factories to “so called” private sectors, but they are fundamentally not private sector. Instead, they are entities, such as Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which do nothing other than the plundering of properties and factories;

• Existence of State jobber gangs which import foreign goods with lower custom tariffs and putting domestic manufactured goods out of the market, the existence of vast and established smuggling, a lack of cash for the industries not affiliated with the government and lack of government support for domestic production, sabotage and purposely withholding needed raw materials at customs;

• Lack of factories’ raw materials, poverty and the weak public’s purchasing power resulted in the accumulation of goods in storage;

• Obtaining heavy taxes from factories and manufacturing shops and continued municipalities’ extortions and governmental organs of producers.

The economic problems in this regime aren’t ‘purely economic’. They are political, with roots that go back to the governing structures, like Rouhani’s, known for its prodigious salaries and a president who doubled the budget of IRGC.

The problem will intensify as long as this structure and governance exist, say the NCRI, adding that the future will see more factory closures, and perhaps, complete economic collapse in Iran.

In Iran, A Nationwide Teachers’ Demonstration

March 13, 2017

In Iran, A Nationwide Teachers’ Demonstration, American ThinkerHassan Mahmoudi, March 13, 2017

Amid ballistic missile tests by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and continued economic and political isolation, Iran’s domestic unrest is escalating.

Simultaneous protests of thousands of angry teachers in more than 22 cities broke out in Iran on Thursday, March 9. The nationwide teachers’ demonstration took place in Tehran, Mashhad, Bojnourd, Ferdows, Torbat-heidaria, Mazandaran, Sanandaj, Saqqez, Marivan, Qorveh, Tabriz, Ardebil, Zanjan, Shiraz, Bushehr, Isfahan, Kermanshah, Kangan, Dehgolan, Lordegan, Ahwaz and Aligudarz.

The demonstrators held a sit-in in front of the local branch of the ministry of education buildings, calling for their demands to be met. They chanted slogans against suppression, repression and plundering policies of the ruling mullahs in Iran. They were holding placards that read:  ‘Detained Teachers Must be Freed,’  ‘NO to Prison,’ ‘Teachers’ future must be secured.’ See the photo at right.

According to Iranian Opposition (MEK) report, in Tehran, more than 1,000 teachers, as well as the families of political prisoners, and staff from the Ministry of Education demonstrated in front of the Iranian regime’s parliament, demanding proper jobs and security.  In today’s teachers gathering, one of the security force members of parliament tried to confiscate the smartphone of one of the protestors in a provocative manner, but he was pushed back by the protestors.

In what was an act of bravery for the teachers in Esfahan, they chanted: ‘Teachers are ready to die but wouldn’t be bullied by the government.’ The photo is below.

In Shiraz, the protesting teachers sat at a table with no food on it, in a symbol of their poor economic condition. The problem is so bad many are severely suffering from food insecurity. They said they are unable to feed themselves or their children with the meager wages and salaries they are getting. They had placards that read: ‘Teachers must rise to end the discrimination and a petty monthly salary.’

In some cities, the special anti-riot guards had surrounded the protesting teachers, but the protestors ignored the intimidation and continued with their protest for hours. Passersby hailed the protestors and paid sympathy and tributes to them as they signaled their hatred of the regime.

The security forces prevented any passerby from stopping in the street. The protestors were holding placards that read: ‘We will not rest until we get our rights.’

Teachers in Sanandaj demanded an end to the rising instances of torture and the high number of executions of the mullahs’ government.

In Kermanshah, in southwestern Iran, the presence of female teachers was remarkable in the streets of that city. The suppressive security forces were trying to prevent the demonstration but failed miserably. The protestors continued to protest there and had placards that read: ‘Discrimination and inequality must end.’ ‘We are crying out of poverty and frustrated of discrimination’,

In their final statement, the protestors condemned the exiles and expulsions of teachers for teaching and speaking out, and demanded the freedom of teachers, especially the freedom of Mr. Baghani who is a known teacher in Kermanshah.

In Ardebil, northwestern Iran, the protesting teachers were chanting: ‘Teachers are willing to die but not to submit to discrimination.’ They demanded unpaid wages and benefits.

According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) roundup report of February 2017 on the teachers’ protests, there were 13 protests classified as cultural. Statistics for the month showed a slight increase from January.

Protests were over the lack of salary increases, lack of equalization of retirement wages and lack of formal employment. Also, a group of teachers published a text about the prosecution of Jafar Azim Zadeh. Teachers who retired in 2016 gathered in front of parliament to demand their 30-year employment bonus.

Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, in her last statement regarding the teachers’ protest “hailed the noble teachers who have staged protest gatherings in various parts of the country to attain their lawful rights and to protest the oppressive and criminal measures by the mullahs’ regime. She called on the nation, especially the students and their parents and the youth throughout the country to support and express solidarity with teachers.

Rajavi said: In circumstances where the clerical regime spends most of the Iranian people’s wealth on suppression, export of terrorism, the massacre of peoples in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon, the bottomless and anti-patriotic nuclear projects, or which funnels this wealth to the bank accounts of regime’s leaders and their families, the hard-working and noble teachers of the country that play the greatest role in building the future of Iran are living in poverty and face the most hardship in their lives.”

 

Tehran Relies on Propaganda to Make up For Misallocation of Funds to Foreign Conflicts

March 10, 2017

Tehran Relies on Propaganda to Make up For Misallocation of Funds to Foreign Conflicts, Iran News Update, March 10, 2017

(Please see also, Time to Call Iran’s Revolutionary Guards What They Are: Terrorists. — DM)

[R]ecently released intelligence strongly suggests that the supreme leader and hardline authorities like the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps bear a great deal of responsibility for the economic struggles of Iranian citizens, as a result of the systematic misappropriation both of budgetary funds and financial resources earned through Iran’s private sector. On Wednesday, the National Council of Resistance of Iran held a panel discussion coinciding with the release of an e-book titled, The Rise of the Revolutionary Guards’ Financial Empire.

In both the discussion and the document, the leading Iranian opposition group explained that a recent push toward widespread privatization of the Iranian economy has actually resulted in the private acquisition of more than half of the country’s gross domestic product by front companies and other affiliates of the IRGC and the supreme leader himself.

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On Friday, Reuters picked up on reporting in Iranian state media which noted that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had once again voiced criticism of President Hassan Rouhani’s handling of the nation’s economy following the nuclear agreement that went into effect at the beginning of last year. The supreme leader’s remarks appeared to specifically highlight the ongoing struggles of the Iranian people, who are experiencing poverty at a rate of at least nine percent and likely much higher.

“Of course the government has taken remarkable steps but if the resistance economy had been implemented fully and widely, we could witness a tangible difference in people’s lives,” Khamenei was quoted as saying. In previous months, he had already called for the renewal of his own “resistance economy” plan, which involves domestic development aimed at making the nation more capable of weather the storm of international economic sanctions, as distinguished from Rouhani’s plan of reaching out to Western powers in order to alleviate those sanctions.

Khamenei’s recommendations thus serve a dual purpose. In the first place, they further undermine the prospects for further rapprochement between the Islamic Republic and the West. And secondly, they defray blame for economic woes away from the supreme leader’s office and its hardline affiliates, putting it instead onto the Rouhani administration, which faces a contentious reelection bid in May.

But recently released intelligence strongly suggests that the supreme leader and hardline authorities like the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps bear a great deal of responsibility for the economic struggles of Iranian citizens, as a result of the systematic misappropriation both of budgetary funds and financial resources earned through Iran’s private sector. On Wednesday, the National Council of Resistance of Iran held a panel discussion coinciding with the release of an e-book titled, The Rise of the Revolutionary Guards’ Financial Empire.

In both the discussion and the document, the leading Iranian opposition group explained that a recent push toward widespread privatization of the Iranian economy has actually resulted in the private acquisition of more than half of the country’s gross domestic product by front companies and other affiliates of the IRGC and the supreme leader himself.

The Washington Times reported upon some of the findings presented in that document, emphasizing the fact that the regime is using these privately acquired assets to channel billions of dollars into regional terrorism, paramilitary activities, and weapons development. The article notes that the intelligence gathered by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran found that approximately 100 billion dollars was being spent annually just on salaries for militant fighters in the Syrian Civil War.

The Washington Times credits the NCRI with presenting a clear warning to Western businesses and policymakers. And the document itself says, “Foreign investors cannot in practical terms avoid entanglement by affiliation in the Iranian regime’s behavior, including its support for terrorism, continued aggressive policies towards regional countries, manufacture and testing of ballistic missiles, and systematic egregious human rights violations inside Iran.”

To critics of Iran’s clerical regime, this entanglement is worrying in its own right because of Tehran’s traditional behavior. And it is made more worrying by the fact that the above-mentioned ballistic missile program is being used alongside other types of weapons as a tool of explicit anti-Western propaganda.

This fact was highlighted once again on Friday when the Associated Press reported that General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the IRGC’s aerospace division, had boasted of the successful testing of another ballistic missile. The launch was aimed at naval targets and took place amidst three days of large-scale training exercises by the Iranian Navy, which is separate from the naval forces of the IRGC.

The IRGC conducted its own naval operations the previous week, and both demonstrations were accompanied by boastful rhetoric about readiness for war with proclaimed enemies including the United States. In a separate example of the same propaganda trends, Iran also premiered an animated film depicting a military officer modeled after IRGC Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani leading a small number of Iranian vessels in destroying a much larger American fleet.

In January, the IRGC conducted the test launch of a nuclear-capable ballistic missile barely a week after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump. Such tests take place in defiance of a UN Security Council resolution calling on Iran to refrain from work on weapons that could carry a nuclear warhead, but a half dozen other such launches had been carried out before Trump was inaugurated but after the conclusion of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany.

The January incident was apparently the immediate impetus for a statement by the Trump administration putting Iran on notice over its provocative behavior. But various observers including US Navy officers have declared that that behavior remains unchanged, and that the IRGC continues to act unprofessionally and confrontationally in the region. Last weekend, for instance, several fast-attack vessels belonging to the IRGC positioned themselves about 600 yards away from a US Navy surveillance ship and three British vessels, compelling them to change course.

The AP reported on Friday that Iranian officials had since made exactly the opposite claim about the incident: that the American and British vessels had changed course specifically to approach the Iranian boats. But considering that this is at odds with the accounts of various other Iranian-initiated close-encounters, it seems to suggest an effort on Tehran’s part to justify its missile tests and defiant rhetoric, by suggesting that the US is the more aggressive party.

Assuming that this particular Iranian claim is indeed a deceptive one, it is certainly not the only one of its kind. The ongoing propaganda campaign also appears to involve an effort to present Iran as being much better positioned than it is for global conflict. This is suggested by the aforementioned film and the statements accompanying military demonstrations and missile tests. But the tendency is perhaps much more clearly on display in allegedly false Iranian claims of advanced weapons development.

The National Interest recently pointed to this phenomenon as it concerns the Qaher F-313 fighter jet, which is supposedly equivalent to an American F-35 stealth fighter, and which Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan claimed was ready for operational testing. In fact, independent analyses of photographs of the craft are broadly in agreement that it is merely a non-functional mockup, and a poorly structured one, at that.

Similar claims have been made about other Iranian weapons and equipment, including drones supposedly cloned from captured American technology. Other military hardware unveiled by the Iranian Army and the Revolutionary Guards has been shown to be little more than outmoded technology affixed with purely cosmetic upgrades. But to the extent that the regime is able to use its tightly controlled state media to present these so-called developments to a domestic audience, it may evoke a more war-ready image of Iran than is defensible in reality.

What’s more, this messaging dovetails with Supreme Leader Khamenei’s statements on the Iranian economy, insofar as it suggests Iran is capable of greater-than-expected domestic military development, while also concealing the fact that much of the country’s military allotment is being spent in foreign territory like Syria and Yemen instead of on advanced domestic development, whether military or civilian.

 

Time to Call Iran’s Revolutionary Guards What They Are: Terrorists

March 10, 2017

Time to Call Iran’s Revolutionary Guards What They Are: Terrorists, American ThinkerReza Shafiee, March 10, 2017

What is missing in all the talks and arguments made in Washington as to what is an effective remedy to counter the mullahs in Iran is the role of Iranian people. Iran is boiling with popular discontent, now. According to Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari, the Iranian regime’s chief of police: “On average 20 to 30 protest gatherings take place around the country by citizens who have lost their life savings to the banks,” These citizens are mainly retired with very limited savings and were scammed out of their lifetime savings by various government-owned financial institutions.  Such protests are but a drop in the ocean when we add the teachers, nurses, factory workers, and an army of college graduates with no prospects of finding decent jobs to the discontent. This amounts to tens of thousands of people, in large numbers of gatherings each year. According to a BBC report, more than 11 million or Iran’s 83 million people are unemployed in the country.

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Ever since signs emerged that Trump administration is considering a long-overdue classification of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, the ruling mullahs have gone to work. They put into place a well-known strategy of intimidation and deception aboard, coupled with an absolute iron fist at home. They do this because they know the value of controlling a terrorist organization. The problem is in the harm it means for everyone else.

In the past, the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khomeini, would brandish the former by reminding Western governments that if they chose to cross Tehran then they must be prepared to pay dearly. But that was decades ago. One fact is undisputable now: The Iranian regime has long passed its prime revolutionary and glory days when Khomeini rode in on the tides of millions who were sadly unaware of what was to come. In those days, people tasted a short-lived period of high expectations, at the time wildly called “spring of freedom.”

At the same time, hostage-taking by IRGC’s protégés, such as nascent Lebanese Hezbollah, of foreign nationals, preferably Americans, was routine. The ayatollahs were behind it even though it often took place in Lebanon. After each kidnapping, IRGC’s proteges then engaged hostages’ governments in a lengthy and humiliating process of hostage negotiations and sometimes hostage swaps in the 1980s.

Today the IRGC has made it much more convenient to reach the same ends by taking the hostages among dual citizens who take the risk of traveling to Iran. Case in point was hostages released just after Iranian regime struck the nuclear deal with the U.S. and five other world powers. IRGC’s deputy chief, Brigadier General Hossein Nejat, in a speech in Bushehr (south of Iran), said: “The Iranian-American journalist of the Washington Post, Jason Rezaian, who had formed an espionage network was identified and arrested by the IRGC.”

Hossein Nejat stated: “The former Secretary of State, John Kerry with his intelligence forces urged the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif to release Jason Rezaian. Consequently, the U.S. government in return paid 1 billion and 400 million dollars ransom to Iran for the release of Jason Rezaian.”

Other IRGC officials, on different occasions after the hostages were released, have bragged that the Obama administration released Iranian prisoners in the United States and on top of that paid a hefty sum as ransom money.

In past few weeks, despite attempts by regime officials, such as Zarif, to keep a low profile while anxiously monitoring Donald Trump’s every move, IRGC is actively scheming. It raised the prize on Salman Rushdie’s head, showcased and glorified old terrorists such as Anis-Alnaghash on state-run television and openly threatened the U.S.

CNC News revealed on Feb. 28 that an IRGC strategist, Hassan Abbasi renewed threats that the force has planned to unleash terror cells on U.S. soil. He has elaborated plans to sabotage nuclear plants in the United States among other things. Ironically, at the same time, IRGC has claimed that it is fighting terrorism in neighboring countries.

Javad Zarif has recently said: “the world at large agrees that the IRGC has extended the utmost support for neighboring countries in their fight against terrorism.”

Zarif seemingly refers to IRGC’s destructive and brutal role in Syria and is trying to sell it as constrictive. According to IRGC’s own figures, more than 1,000 members of its rank and file have been killed in cities around the war-torn country.  Many were veteran IRGC officers. The Iranian regime claims that it has only an advisory role in Syria, however it has recruited and dispatched thousands of Afghani and Pakistani nationals to Syrian fronts. Not one has fought ISIS.

On March 2, Brigadier General Ismail Ghaani, who is deputy Quds Force commander, speaking in the northeastern city of Mashhad, told a group from the Fatemiyoun Division, an offshoot of the force fighting in Syria: “Fatemiyoun proved that it is a capable force ready to operate not only in Syria but anywhere else on the planet when Islam requires it.” Fatemiyoun was formed of Afghani recruits, along with its sibling organization Zenabiyoun Division of Pakistanis.

The Iranian regime today makes it no secret that it is heavily involved in Syria and Iraq. It sugarcoats its involvement with the illusion that IRGC and its armed wing, the Quds Force, are fighting ISIS. But it’s not true. After almost six years of involvement in the bloody civil war in Syria, it is out in the open that the regime has no quarrel with ISIS. Former Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview with Fox News: “Assad facilitated the release of 1,500 prisoners, parallel to 1,000 by Maliki in Iraq, leading to the foundation of ISIS.”  Former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey, said that Americans knew what Prime Minister Maliki was up to, but chose not to take any action.

It is also a hard fact that Maliki was in every way a puppet of the Iranian regime. He was trained by the IRGC and fought alongside its forces during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

What is missing in all the talks and arguments made in Washington as to what is an effective remedy to counter the mullahs in Iran is the role of Iranian people. Iran is boiling with popular discontent, now. According to Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari, the Iranian regime’s chief of police: “On average 20 to 30 protest gatherings take place around the country by citizens who have lost their life savings to the banks,” These citizens are mainly retired with very limited savings and were scammed out of their lifetime savings by various government-owned financial institutions.  Such protests are but a drop in the ocean when we add the teachers, nurses, factory workers, and an army of college graduates with no prospects of finding decent jobs to the discontent. This amounts to tens of thousands of people, in large numbers of gatherings each year. According to a BBC report, more than 11 million or Iran’s 83 million people are unemployed in the country.

When it comes to Iran, the decision-makers in Washington have two options: One is to follow the status quo and tolerate a regime which is the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world, a stirrer of sectarian violence in the region, and engaged in two wars in Iraq and Syria. It’s a nation that secretly supplies weapons to Yemen’s Houthis which has also cost American servicemen’s lives. If the Trump administration chooses this option, it will make the same mistakes the Obama administration made.

The other, and better, option is to stand with Iranian people and their resistance, to let them shape their own future. All they asked of U.S. in 2009 was for the U.S. to stand with them. At the time, they chanted: “Obama are you with us or with them.” They clearly hoped the U.S. would not placate mullahs with concessions, nor turn a blind eye to regime’s terrorism.

One such good signal in the right direction would be to designate IRGC as a terrorist organization.  In light of all it has done and its growing strength, in designating the IRGC as a terrorist group, we are doing ourselves a favor.

Reza Shafiee is a member of Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) 

Iran in Crisis

March 5, 2017

Iran in Crisis, American ThinkerHeshmat Alavi, March 5, 2017

(Please see also, Mullahs’ Nightmare: Huge Demonstration Breaks Out In Tehran. — DM)

Forecasting what lies ahead is truly impossible, making Khamenei and his entire regime extremely concerned, trekking this path very carefully and with a low profile. As we witnessed with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan, Iran immediately released the 52 hostages held for 444 days.

This regime understands the language of force very carefully. And yet, there is no need to use military force to inflict a significant blow and make Tehran understand the international community means business. Blacklisting Iran’s IRGC as a terrorist organization by the U.S. at this timing would be the nail in the coffin for the mullahs.

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The recent dust storms that wreaked havoc in southwest Iran signaled only one of the many crises the mullahs are facing less than three months before critical elections. Tehran has been hit with severe blows during the Munich Security Conference, contrasting interests with Russia, the recent escalating row with Turkey, and most importantly, a new U.S. administration in Washington.

These crises have crippling effects on the mullahs’ apparatus, especially at a time when Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sees his regime facing a changing balance of power in the international community, and is faced with a major decision of selecting the regime’s so-called president.

Iran and Ahvaz

The dust storms crisis in Ahwaz, resulting from the mullahs’ own destructive desertification policies, caused severe disruptions in water and power services and people pouring into the streets in major protests.

The regime, and especially the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), has for decades pursued a desertification policy of constructing dams, drying lagoons, digging deep oil wells beneath underground water sources with resulting catastrophic environmental disasters. Various estimates indicate the continuation of such a trend will literally transform two-thirds of Iran into desert lands in the next decade. This will place 14 to 15 million people at the mercy not only dust storms but also salt storms.

Iran and the Munich Security Conference

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attended this conference with a series of objectives in mind, only to face a completely unexpected scene. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence described Iran as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the mullahs are the source of threats and instability throughout the Middle East. Turkey went one step further and said Tehran is the heart of sectarianism and spreads such plots across the region, and all traces in Syria lead to Iran’s terrorism and sectarian measures.

This resembles a vast international coalition against Tehran, inflicting yet another blow to the mullahs following a new administration taking control of the White House. These developments are very costly for Khamenei and the entire regime.

In comparison to the early 2000s when the U.S. launched wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran was the main benefactor. The current balance of power now is quite different, as seen in Munich. While there is talk of an Arab NATO, any coalition formed now in the Middle East will be completely against Iran’s interests.

Iran and Russia

Following a disastrous joint campaign in Syria, for the first time Russia is reportedly supporting a safe zone in Syria. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said contacts have been made with the Syrian regime to establish safe zones in Syria. These are the first remarks made by any Russian official on the issue of safe zones in Syria.

Moscow’s increasing contrast in interest with Iran over Syria has the potential of playing a major role in regional relations. Russia certainly doesn’t consider Bashar Assad remaining in power as a red line, a viewpoint far different from that of Iran. Moscow is also ready to sacrifice its interests in Syria in a larger and more suitable bargain with the Trump administration over far more important global interests.

Iran and Turkey

Yes, Ankara and Tehran enjoy a vast economic partnership. However, recent shifts in geopolitical realities have led to significant tensions. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the mullahs of resorting to “Persian nationalism” in an effort to split Iraq and Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Iran of seeking to undermine Bahrain and Saudi Arabia as part of Tehran’s “sectarian policy.” Cavusoglu used his speech in Munich to say, “Iran is trying to create two Shia states in Syria and Iraq. This is very dangerous. It must be stopped.”

Tehran considers Ankara’s soldiers in Iraq and Syria as a major obstacle in its effort to expand its regional influence.

U.S. president Donald Trump’s strong approach vis-à-vis Iran and the possibility of him supporting the establishment of a Turkish-administered northern Syria safe zone may have also played a major part in fuming bilateral tensions between these two Middle East powers.

Erdogan has obviously realized completely the new White House in Washington intends to adopt a much more aggressive stance against Tehran. This is another sign of changing tides brewing troubles for Iran’s mullahs.

Iran and Presidential Elections

With new reports about his ailing health, Khamenei is extremely concerned about his predecessor. One such signal is the candidacy of Ibrahim Reisi, current head of the colossal Astan Quds Razavi political empire and a staunch loyalist to Khamenei’s faction, for the presidency. With former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani out of the picture, Khamenei may seek to seal his legacy by placing Reisi against Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in the upcoming May elections.

This is literally Khamenei playing with fire, as Reisi is considered a hardline figure and such an appointment may spark 2009-like protests across the country, as the country has become a scene of massive social challenges. Rouhani himself doesn’t enjoy any social base support, especially after four years of lies and nearly 3,000 executions.

Final Thoughts

This places the entire regime in a very fragile situation. From the internal crises of Ahwaz, the upcoming elections and the formation of a significant international front threatening the Iranian regime’s strategic interests.

Forecasting what lies ahead is truly impossible, making Khamenei and his entire regime extremely concerned, trekking this path very carefully and with a low profile. As we witnessed with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan, Iran immediately released the 52 hostages held for 444 days.

This regime understands the language of force very carefully. And yet, there is no need to use military force to inflict a significant blow and make Tehran understand the international community means business. Blacklisting Iran’s IRGC as a terrorist organization by the U.S. at this timing would be the nail in the coffin for the mullahs.

 

Iran’s Regime of Terror by the Numbers

February 23, 2017

Iran’s Regime of Terror by the Numbers, Clarion Project, Heshmat Alavi, February 23, 2017

Iranian rial banknotes bearing a portrait of the late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, sit on the stand of an Iraqi money dealer on June 19, 2014, in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. President Hassan Rouhani said on June 18 Iran would do whatever it takes to protect revered Shiite shrines in Iraq against Sunni militants fighting the Baghdad government. AFP PHOTO/KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

Iranian rial banknotes bearing a portrait of the late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, sit on the stand of an Iraqi money dealer on June 19, 2014, in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

The mullahs now ruling Iran were able to hijack the revolution that sacked the U.S.-backed Shah regime back in February 1979. However, the 38-year report card left by the mullahs has only raised extreme anger throughout the Iranian society.

Numbers are very vivid in revealing the undeniable atrocities caused by the mullahs’ disastrous policies.

The daily trend of continuous executions in Iran has raised anger amongst the international community for years. Iran is considered the number one executioner per capita.

The number of executions in Iran “paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale,” according to Amnesty International.

Suicides are also on the rise, especially amongst women, ranking Iran first in the Middle East and third in the world. There are also reports of a growing number of teenagers committing suicide.

Drug addiction is yet another disastrous result of the mullahs’ rule in Iran. The amount of drugs spreading amongst women and teenagers is skyrocketing and state-run media are citing experts estimating at least 8 million Iranians are suffering from this dreadful phenomenon.

Iran’s roads are even considered very dangerous, as the mullahs refuse to allocate the necessary budget to provide safe passages. 20,000 people die each year in Iran and 300,000 injured (150% more than the global average). Iran’s annual road accident casualty statistics are even compared to an all-out war.

Poverty has increased to an extent that many Iranians have resorted to gathering recyclable products, food stuffs and other trash to make ends meet, and the homeless sleeping in pre-dug graves.

All the while Iran is a country sitting on a vast sea of crude oil and natural gas, with new reports of 2 billion barrels of shell oil discovered in western Iran.

The country’s economy, however, has nosedived to such an extent that more than 50% of the industrial units have gone bankrupt or are on the verge of bankruptcy.

Unemployment is now a critical and increasing crisis. Nearly 15 million people are unemployed in Iran, according to an Iranian economy expert.

The mullahs’ policies have literally destroyed the entire “middle class” in Iran, leaving the population divided between a small percentage with massive riches, and a high percentage living in poverty.

30% of the country’s population is hungry and have no bread to eat,” said Ali Akbar Sayari, Deputy Health Minister in the cabinet of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Iran has an urban population of 65 million, of which one third live in city outskirts comparable to shacks and slums.

“Around 20 million people are living in 53,000 hectares (204 square miles) of non-official residential areas,” according to Mohammad Saeed Izadi, Iran’s Deputy Minister of Road and Construction.

Financial corruption is spreading throughout society like cancer. The numbers have become massive and even unimaginable. Above all is the apparatus linked to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, whose riches value at $95 billion.

Iran’s environment is also on the verge of complete annihilation.

“If the water crisis in Iran continues, the country will soon become very similar to Somalia and 50 million Iranians will be forced to leave the country,” said Isa Kalantari, Rouhani’s advisor in water and agricultural matters.

Even the workplace is considered unsafe under the mullahs’ rule, as Iran ranks first in the world in workplace incidents.

“Iran is the world record holder in construction accidents,” said Akbar Shokat, head of the Construction Workers’ Guild Center in an interview with the state-run ISNA news agency.

Illiteracy is plaguing millions of Iranian children, depriving them of education due to their family’s economic and social problems. Iran has a population of 10 million illiterates and 10 million low-literates, according to Rouhani’s Deputy Education Minister.

Yet another repulsive custom rendered from the mullahs’ regime has been child marriages. Poverty forces families to give off their young daughters, leaving them to face unthinkable spiritual and physical damages from arranged marriages.

43,000 girls between the ages of 10 to 15 are currently married in Iran,” according to regime officials.

This is merely a tip of the iceberg of the mullahs’ horrific track record in the past 38 years, making serious measures against this regime and in support of the Iranian people all the more necessary.

New Report Shows Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Profiting from Iran Deal

October 5, 2016

New Report Shows Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Profiting from Iran Deal, Counter Jihad, October 5, 2016

iranian-nuclear-weapon

A new report from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies showcases the ways in which Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has benefited from the so-called nuclear deal.  This deal, which Congress never voted to approve nor reject, and which the Iranian government fundamentally altered rather than accepting, has nevertheless led to a vast transfer of wealth to Iran.  Much of that wealth has fallen right in the hands of the IRGC, which oversees Iran’s terrorist and military nuclear programs.

Here at CounterJihad, we have covered the problems withIran’s nuclear deal somewhat extensively.  The Foundation for Defense of Democracies report’s conclusions will thus be of little surprise to our regular readers.  However, it does include additional detail on the degree to which Iran’s corporate and business ventures are secretly dominated by IRGC elites.  As the report says:

[IRGC abuses] did not stop France’s mobile phone giant, Orange, from beginning talks with Iran’s largest mobile phone operator, Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran (MCI), over acquiring a stake in the Iranian company. The IRGC controls MCI through a 50-percent-plus-one stake in its parent company, the Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI).  In short, whether its internal security, foreign adventures, or large corporate ventures, the IRGC plays an outsized role in Iran’s internal power structure. Established in 1979 to consolidate the Islamic revolution and fight its enemies, the IRGC has evolved over the years into a full-fledged conventional army, conducting and directing terrorist activity abroad. The Guard has also become a political power broker, an economic conglomerate, and an agency in charge of nuclear and ballistic-missile proliferation….  IRGC revenues from economic activities yield the necessary resources and political leverage to place its members in positions of power. Conversely, the Guard’s political power serves the economic enterprises it owns, and both its political and economic weight in turn advance its military projects.

The IRGC’s corporate activity offers revenue to the organization in the same way that its control of narcotics within Iran does.  However, whereas the narcotics are often passed on to Hezbollah to be turned into heroin, corporate profits can be rolled over into apparently legitimate enterprises that have useful military applications.  That allows Iran a backdoor to internationally-developed advanced weaponry and so-called “dual use” technologies.  These are technologies that have both a legitimate purpose, but also an application to Iran’s nuclear program.

Their space program is an excellent example of the way in which a legitimate purpose can mask development of nuclear weapons:  the same technologies involved in building space rockets that can deploy satellites in particular orbits can also be used to develop ballistic missiles that will deliver nuclear warheads to particular cities.  The New York Times reported in September that the biggest engine in North Korea’s nuclear missile program seems to have been developed in partnership with Iran.  Iran’s version is “nuclear-capable,” but the North Korean version makes no pretense about its intentions.

The potential links to Iran complicate the issue. Iran has ignored a United Nations Security Council resolution, passed in conjunction with last year’s agreement freezing its nuclear program, to refrain from tests of nuclear-capable missiles for eight years.  The Obama administration has not sought sanctions, knowing they would be vetoed by Russia and China, nor has it said much in public about the details of the cooperation on the new rocket engine.

Nor are they likely to do so, given how much of the administration’s prestige is tied up with the so-called nuclear deal.  It is worth noting, however, that the effect of the deal has been to embolden Iran — and North Korea, and Russia, and America’s enemies in general.