Visit ArabTopics.com

Iran Crisis: What It Is and What It’s Not

T6745324234

What was caused by basic economic concerns was deliberately projected by the mainstream western media as the ‘making of a rebellion’ and possible revolution in Iran against Iran’s Islamic leadership itself. What was limited to certain regions only was hoped to spread to other parts of Iran and thus undo the Iranian regime. This has, obviously, not happened, slashing the western pundit’s hopes for a deadly change in Iran, a change that the West and its allies in the East have been hoping to bring for last many years, more particularly since the beginning of the US-Iraq war and then all through the ISIS years. In a way, what partly explains the outbreak of this crisis is the continuing US financial and economic sanctions on Iran and the hardship these sanctions continue to pose despite the opening provided through the lifting of UN and EU sanctions. The reason for why these sanctions have not been lifted and why the US sanctions regime has been tightened is—again—the US policy to undermine the Iranian regime and thus spread instability in the region that has become the key to China’s Silk Roads and the linchpin of Russian presence in the Middle East. Arguably, Tehran is already gearing up to increase business across Eurasia through China’s new Silk Roads, the Belt and Road Initiative, and the Eurasia Economic Union.

In simple words, what the crisis is what the West has always been yearning to see happening in Iran. But what the crisis is not is that it doesn’t have a revolutionary flavor. Just to simplify the problem, we can compare the present situation to the one that prevailed in Iran in the late 1970s when the Iranian society had been brutalized by the pro-West Shah regime. While the then Iranian regime’s brutality did radicalize the Iranian society to a considerable extent, what actually paved the way for a revolution was the strong presence of a guiding (revolutionary) ideology and a revolutionary leader to look up to. The present crisis is, therefore, fundamentally different from what we saw in the 1970s.

And then the very texture of the Iranian society changed a lot ever since the inoculation and growth of the revolutionary ideology. As such, mere anti-regime slogans cannot be enough to undo a regime that has spread its roots a lot deeper than a mere armed-chair critic, sitting in the West, can imagine. Iran’s basij, the revolutionary militias, have practically permeated the Iranian society from trade unions to student unions and civil society. And, it cannot be gainsaid that Iran’s civil society is far more sophisticated than simple enough to fall a prey to the sinister Western agenda of regime change.

And, while there are legitimate concerns within Iran regarding the overall economic situation of the country, these concerns cannot be properly grasped by simply factoring in Iran’s spendings elsewhere in the region, particularly Syria.

Therefore, the argument that protests have been caused by the fact that the Iranian regime spends more on foreign policy front and slashes subsidies on the front is misleading. Certainly, this would seriously fall short of explaining as to why protests in different parts of Iran have only been “riots” and couldn’t turn into an organized movement, mobilizing people from different parts on the country? If the protests had been caused by the Iranian regime’s supposed priorities, what made them subside within two weeks?

While numerous reports in the Western media have used this opportunity to spread figures, indicating how much Iran has spent in Syria, the fact remains that Iran’s spendings are still a lot less than what its competitors, such as Saudi Arabia, have been spending on this front. Iran’s military expenditures in 2016 were $12.4 billion. By comparison, those of Saudi Arabia amounted to $61.4 billion (2016) and the UAE $23.7 billion in 2014. Similarly, the 2017-18 budget deficit was estimated by the central bank of Iran at $9.6 billion (2.1% of GDP). By comparison, the Saudi deficit in 2017 was $57 billion (8.9% of GDP). Yet, no protests have occurred there against the regime despite the fact that the House of Saud has splashed many subsidies and increased prices for a number of items, including the oil.

The riots in Iran were a political crisis, caused by economic hardships. And the good thing is that the problems were recognized by the Rouhani administration as genuine and needing a solution. In fact, the Rouhani administration turned out to be politically active enough to pick this opportunity to carry forward its own reformist agenda to open the society up. “One of the people’s demands is a more open atmosphere”, said Rouhani in his televised speech. And he was also reported to have said, “We should listen to this voice and turn it into an opportunity. We should see what the problem is and also what the solution is … The people should express their grievances in a way that will lead to better living conditions for citizens and investments in the country.”

While the riots did seem to appear as sweet music to the ears of those sitting in Riyadh, UAE and Israel, Rouhani’s masterful handling of the situation did equally show the crucial difference between the Arab monarchies and Iran itself. An analysis of Rouhani’s speeches shows, in an unambiguous manner, his willingness to adapt and transform rather than his stubbornness and willingness to brutally suppress the dissenting voices. Imagine such riots in Saudi Arabia and the way the crown prince Mohammad bin Salman would have handled!

This, again, was frustrating for the West which had calculated that Iranian regime has “little tolerance for dissent”, and that a brutal response to the protestors would again create conditions for imposing fresh embargoes, including from the EU, thus giving the opportunity to strangulate the economy further. Thanks to the Rouhani administration’s political acumen and the West’s misreading of Iranian society and system, the hopes for large scale crisis, leading to an overthrow of the regime have been frustrated, and the emphasis on unity and development is back on stage in Iran.

Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Source: 
New Eastern Outlook

Support this site

News Sources

Source Items
The Real News 238
Scrutinised Minds 16
Need To Know News 833
FEE 1904
Marine Le Pen 92
Francois Asselineau 25
Opassande 50
HAX on 5July 220
Henrik Alexandersson 347
Mohamed Omar 170
Professors Blog 10
Arg Blatte Talar 36
Angry Foreigner 14
Fritte Fritzson 11
Teologiska rummet 28
Filosofiska rummet 49
Vetenskapsradion Historia 65
Snedtänkt (Kalle Lind) 144
Les Crises 1057
Richard Falk 64
Ian Sinclair 54
SpinWatch 31
Counter Currents 3403
Kafila 256
Gail Malone 24
Transnational Foundation 221
Rick Falkvinge 74
The Duran 4696
Vanessa Beeley 65
Nina Kouprianova 9
MintPress 3014
Paul Craig Roberts 711
News Junkie Post 40
Nomi Prins 17
Kurt Nimmo 191
Strategic Culture 2069
Sir Ken Robinson 13
Stephan Kinsella 39
Liberty Blitzkrieg 702
Sami Bedouin 60
Consortium News 1700
21 Century Wire 2351
Burning Blogger 243
Stephen Gowans 47
David D. Friedman 111
Anarchist Standard 16
The BRICS Post 1293
Tom Dispatch 299
Levant Report 17
The Saker 2551
The Barnes Review 422
John Friend 305
Psyche Truth 146
Jonathan Cook 122
New Eastern Outlook 2499
School Sucks Project 1074
Giza Death Star 1218
Andrew Gavin Marshall 15
Red Ice Radio 528
GMWatch 1380
Robert Faurisson 113
Espionage History Archive 33
Jay's Analysis 534
Le 4ème singe 67
Jacob Cohen 171
Agora Vox 6585
Cercle Des Volontaires 376
Panamza 1209
Fairewinds 98
Project Censored 515
Spy Culture 281
Conspiracy Archive 56
Crystal Clark 11
Timothy Kelly 313
PINAC 1455
The Conscious Resistance 430
Independent Science News 60
The Anti Media 3929
Positive News 791
Brandon Martinez 30
Steven Chovanec 47
Lionel 224
The Mind renewed 191
Natural Society 2391
Yanis Varoufakis 648
Tragedy & Hope 106
Dr. Tim Ball 52
Web of Debt 113
Porkins Policy Review 272
Conspiracy Watch 174
Eva Bartlett 494
Libyan War Truth 254
DeadLine Live 1882
Kevin Ryan 57
BSNEWS 1822
Aaron Franz 153
Traces of Reality 166
Revelations Radio News 102
Dr. Bruce Levine 91
Peter B Collins 1126
Faux Capitalism 203
Dissident Voice 8350
Climate Audit 207
Donna Laframboise 240
Judith Curry 986
Geneva Business Insider 40
Media Monarchy 1625
Newsbud 2255
Syria Report 70
Human Rights Investigation 85
Intifada (Voice of Palestine) 1685
Down With Tyranny 8446
Laura Wells Solutions 15
Video Rebel's Blog 397
Revisionist Review 474
Aletho News 15186
ضد العولمة 27
Penny for your thoughts 2306
Northerntruthseeker 1755
كساريات 37
Color Revolutions and Geopolitics 27
Stop Nato 4474
AntiWar.com Blog 2281
AntiWar.com Original Content 5272
Corbett Report 1854
Stop Imperialism 491
Land Destroyer 1015
Webster Tarpley Website 739

Compiled Feeds

Public Lists

Title Visibility
Funny Public