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Trouble on the Iranian home front?

Longish article in the Telegraph today about the increasing domestic economic woes in Iran, which puts pressure on current leadership of that country. If such a country is this state when the price of crude oil has been so high, albeit off its peaks – Iran is a major oil exporter – then imagine how things may pan out if the price of the black stuff goes down even more.

11 comments to Trouble on the Iranian home front?

  • I hope that this latest news places intolerable strain on the theocracy, but for years I’ve been reading about the dire economic situation that has led many a commentator to predict the imminent demise of the Iranian regime. I won’t be holding my breath.

  • K

    Regimes based upon ideology often show an amazing ability to survive mismanagement. Currently we have Cuba, Korea, and Iran in the basket-case club. And soon Chavez will have Venezuela with them.

    Iran is probably paying Russia and China immense amounts for their substantial technical help and UN support. That alone would hurt their economy.

    Russia has more reason than China to help Iran but China is probably getting discounts on oil and some peace with Muslims in their border areas.

    I certainly hope the Iranians will have another revolution but I won’t be holding my breath. A war aimed at destroying Israel seems more likely.

  • From a freedom perspective, this is not good news at all. A bad economy is a boon to tyranny.

  • Julian Taylor

    I read recently that the next country to join the Chavez, Imadinnerjacket and Castro “underpants-on-the-head-and-a-pencil-in-each-nostril” club could well be Bolivia. With the last elections having favoured Evo Morales, leader of Bolivia’s cocalero movement and often portrayed as a hero for standing up to the ‘evil’ USA trying to stamp out Bolivia’s national export, he apparently has great aspirations of making his country into a socialist paradise like Hugo Chavez has done. Already he has put some of his threats into place with the nationalisation of natural gas production.

  • Quenton

    Add Zimbabwe to that list of economic poo-holes that just won’t die as well.

    It’s no suprise these places won’t just “go away” as the thing that keeps them there, their corrupt goverments, are the last things to be harmed by economic hardships. If they run short of cash they can 1) print more 2) steal more from the people. It won’t be the dictators that suffer with either of these options.

    I have never been able to figure out why some people think economic sanctions are the best way to remove totalitarian regimes. This has never, ever, worked. The only thing sanctions accomplish is to halt any expansionism of the sanctioned country. Meanwhile, General Tinpot gets to live in luxury while looting his people’s bank accounts.

    If you wan’t to get rid of your enemies you kill them. Trying to starve them out only harms the people western governments claim to support.

  • Nick M

    Yup, charlie, I think you’re right. A poorer Iran means fewer Iranians buying computers and getting sat telly. It means less connectivity with the rest of the world and, obviously, this economic down-turn can be spun by Armanidinnerjacket as the result of the malign influences of the Zionist-Crusaders. At the least this will result in more bellicosity from Tehran and at the worst WW4. Question is, will Uncle Hugo bung them some cash?

    K. Is Armanidinnerjacket absolutely bonkers? Well that’s the big question for 2007. He might be which is bad and then again it might just be an act which is (possibly) worse. If I was in his position I would be doing everything possible to confuse the world and chance it that I’d be able to get a credible nuclear threat up and running before anyone had the cojones to stop me. In the meantime I would keep on stirring the Iraqi pot to force the UK/US out and then manufacture some pretext for an anschluss with Shia Iraq. I’d stake it all on becoming a hero of Islam (and to a certain extent a la Chavez to all the oppressed of the poorer nations). Given my new found glamour as a lion of Islam / the global poor the Shia branch of Islam would gain a certain glamour. I would milk that for all it is worth, especially in the “moderate” gulf states with large Shia populations. Assuming nobody stopped me I’d end up as the regional power with a great deal of influence in the Islamic world and beyond. I’d have nukes which would make me untouchable, Shia Islam would be vastly more respected within the Islamic world for having effectively stood up to the West*. With my new-found allies in Bahrain, Iraq etc I’d be in a position to control even more of the world’s oil and with Russian/Chinese missiles to shut the Straights of Homuz. I’d call that a result. And I would certainly never, ever directly attack Israel.

    Now, back to the original question I posed. Do you think the Iranians are gunning for a direct Armageddon with Israel or do you think they’re playing something like the plan I outlined?

    *Note the 2006 Israeli war. The “Arab street” has been forced to acknowledge that Hizbollah despite being Shia provided the most effective “resistance” to the Zionist entity in a very long time.

  • Pa Annoyed

    “I have never been able to figure out why some people think economic sanctions are the best way to remove totalitarian regimes.”

    Because the UN charter says that any threats to international peace and security can be subjected to sanctions to resolve matters peacefully, or if this either is deemed unlikely to work or has not worked, then military intervention by the UN to fix the problem is mandatory. For some reason nobody in the ‘kleptocrat’s club’ ever quite gets to the point of deciding that sanctions have been ineffective.

    And until they do – until they issue the absolutely last, final, do-it-by-the-deadline-or-else, you won’t get any more warnings, we really mean it this time, no, really we do, we’re not bluffing, yes, I know we were bluffing the last fifteen times but our patience is finally and definitively at an end now, honest, we really really really mean it UN security council resolution, and it gets ignored – then nobody else is allowed to do anything else.

    And that sort of resolution doesn’t often happen, so ‘sanctions’ it is.

  • K

    reply to several: I think the A guy of Iran has a manic personality and will keep pushing for the sheer thrill and excitement of it all.

    He does not have formal authority – the religious council has that – to launch a war but by running the government he may just do it anyway.

    Economic sanctions can work quite well. Yet they almost always fail because not all countries will honor them. Or the enforcement is lax – look at the long borders Iran has and who the neighbors are.

    Political sanctions must accompany economic ones. Otherwise a country can move diplomats abroad, use private schools abroad, fly people in and out – yeh, tourists and humanitarians my ass – bank and borrow money, run the national airline, and let the upper class vacation abroad or go there for medical care. So who, among the ruling, suffers that much?

    Sufficiently vigorous sanctions stir uneasiness in the palace; it is hard to keep those at the top from knowing why they are in place. But terror trumps uneasiness and most regimes stay on.

  • Reid of America

    This same analysis on Iran has been peddled since day one of the Islamist regime. Iran is one of the few nations that has a substantially lower standard of living than it enjoyed 30 years ago. Even lower standards of living won’t end the regime. Good old-fashioned war will put an end to the regime.

  • Michiganny

    All of the points on sanctions not working well to curb totalitarian regimes may be correct. But where can anybody say that Iran is a totalitarian regime led by Ahmadinejad?

    That Khamenei is considered the supreme leader is a point against it. So is the rivalry of Rafsanjani. Wouldn’t they both have been in shallow graves in Stalin’s Russia or Saddam’s Iraq? No totalitarian worth his salt ever actually tolerated rivals, as Bukharin and Shias came to learn. Besides, the shorthand for totalitarianism is “If you are not with us, you are against us.” That does not obtain at all here.

    Iran is an authoritarin state, not totalitarian. Khamenei may find it useful for idiots to proclaim death to America, but he is telling Ahmadinejad to pull back in a very public way–as are the voters.

    Because no side is completely controlled by zealots, I do not see Iran, the US, or Israel starting a war any time soon. Besides, none can afford it.

  • I quote:

    “If such a country is this state when the price of crude oil has been so high, albeit off its peaks – Iran is a major oil exporter – then imagine how things may pan out if the price of the black stuff goes down even more.”

    I feel that statement is misleading. In the Telegraph article:

    The fuel price rises are the result of the president’s attempt to cut dependency on foreign imports. Although Iran is OPEC’s second largest producer of oil, it is forced to import 40 per cent of its refined petroleum needs because its own refining facilities were devastated during the war with Iraq.