The US economic pressure on Iran has been having a decisive effect for some time now. Unfortunately, this reality has been largely ignored by the Western media, and papered over by Tehran. This week the Iranian government ran out of paper mache and has been forced to face the grim reality that US sanctions are quickly moving the country towards the brink of economic collapse. On Thursday, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani admitted Iran is facing a major deficit, the number covering roughly two-thirds of its annual budget. Today, the government announced a 300 percent increase in fuel prices, as well as a strict rationing system. Within a few hours protests broke out across the country. Angry crowds in a number of towns and cities have called for the removal of Rouhani from power.
Since the Trump administration tightened the screws on Iran, protests have occurred periodically with some being violent. On the surface, the economic anxiety brought on by US sanctions appears to be the root cause of the Iranian people’s anger and frustration. However, the root cause, as has been the case for years, is the government, and its policies. With that in mind, it came as no surprise to learn that Friday’s protests have taken on an anti-government tone.
The timing of the fuel policy revisions could’ve been better. Popular unrest in Iraq, Lebanon, and many other locations around the world over economic conditions, and government neglect might provide an impetus for the Iranian citizenry to challenge the government in a similar fashion. It is a moot point now though. The prices have been raised, the people are responding, and the Iranian government now has another major problem to contend with. As if it didn’t have enough already.
For the United States, today’s developments in Iran are concrete proof that the Trump administration’s hardline policy on Iran is working perfectly.