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Iran- A Better Revolution In The Making?

In light of recent developments in Saudi Arabia where the new Crown Prince has asserted his authority over his rivals and critical institutions within the Kingdom (see LDC, December 2017). There have been stirrings of discontent within the Islamic Republic of Iran enough to rattle the ruling clerics and provoke a response from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei about foreign agents stirring up discontent within Iran.

However by claiming agitators are stirring up discontent suggests there is underlying reasons or causes to be manipulated in the first place. A moribund economy after years of sanctions, underinvestment and a lack of decent jobs for a large swath of the population especially the young are three such causes for discontent. Combined with costly wars in Yemen and supporting political factions in Syria and Iraq have brought about the discontent as much as the efforts of any foreign agents.

President Hassan Rouhani as a more moderate politician attempts to ameliorate the county’s shortcomings as he is able within the constraints of the more hard line elements of the revolutionary regime. US President Trump could help matters by extending the terms of the sanctions easing, reached by former US Secretary of State John Kerry under the Obama administration and other allied nations including the UK, with Iranian restrictions on nuclear enrichment. This would help to improve the economy and help ease social tensions within the country.

However such support wouldn’t be appreciated by the Saudi regime as they are fighting the same conflicts from the opposite ideological position. They also are politically critical regional lynchpins, suppliers of oil and intelligence and buyers of weaponry.

Therefore, some clever diplomacy is required to safeguard an Iranian deal that was seen as a Middle Eastern political milestone, an economic lifeline yet with the potential to upset the Saudis.

Surely the key to unpicking this Gordian knot of political strife  is a deal to cease the Kurdish, Syrian and Iraqi conflicts which allows both sides to stop haemorrhaging cash, develop their own economies and bring some stability to the ravaged parts of their region. Now that would be enlightened foreign intervention for any US or EU administration willing to help-is it likely to happen anytime soon?


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