Tsunamis can cause death and devastation as has become painfully clear over the past two decades. Earthquakes, like the recent Haitian and Chilean monsters, are not subtle events; they flatten buildings, crush houses, and turn infrastructure into concrete and steel confetti. However, earthquakes can also generate a power that remains largely unseen until a huge tsunami rises out of the sea and obliterates a coastline.
This metaphor comes to mind when we want to analyze the social and political situation in Iran
In his speech in the Parliament when he presented the budget for the Iranian year 1398 (March 2018-March 2019), President Hassan Rouhani resorted to a series of false statistics of his government’s economic success. But he further admitted that these brilliant advances and successes were stopped by the American conspiracies, and the process was reversed.
Regardless of the made-up figures and statistics that Rouhani presented, the more important point is that Rouhani confesses to the fact that the situation has deteriorated due to sanctions.
In the past days, some government media have exposed some of the economic downturns.
In an article entitled “Tsunami in Iranian Trade,” the Ebtekar newspaper dated December 26, 2018, examined the impact of the sanctions on regime banks by the Chinese Kunlun Bank on the economy, saying, “Banking transactions between Iran and China are among the key issues for the country’s economic activities. And any disruption in it can put our exports and imports into serious challenges. The challenge of the kind of interruption in economic activity!”
Ebtekar points out that some regime officials had previously promised:, “Economic agents can pursue transactions with the Bank of China (Kunlun) through their operating banks … But less than two weeks after the publication of the news, the bank announced in a statement that in order to resume business relations, some conditions were imposed, and the condition on one of its clauses is the termination of the transaction, and (financial transactions) with certain industries. It is normal for Iran’s trade relations to slow down in such a situation, and in this context, the economic future of Iran can be faced with serious challenges.”
Jahan-e-Sanat (World of Industry), another newspaper of the Rouhani faction, announced the closure of 100 paper production units and wrote: “Following the problems in the paper market, out of 600 active manufacturing units in the paper industry. 100 units are closed.”
The report adds, “If this trend continues, the rest of the active units in this business will be shut down. The shutting down of paper production units after the closure of the chain of textile factories, shoe manufacturing, the production of household appliances and garment production units, is now signaling the expansion and deepening of the recession and rising unemployment rates.”
It is not only state media whose reports indicate a severe economic situation, the closure of many factories and production units, or the impending tsunami in the economic field, international organizations also point out the deterioration of the economic situation in Iran.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted, like the World Bank, that economic growth this year and next year will be negative in Iran.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Iran’s economic growth in 2018 and 2019 is projected to be -1.47% and -3.61%, respectively.
According to the IMF report, due to the depreciation of the Iranian Rial against the dollar, Iran’s GDP will fall from $430 billion in 2018 to $333 billion in 2019. The IMF also predicted that Iran’s economy would be 6.3 percent smaller next year. According to this forecast, the unemployment rate will increase to 7.12%.
Following the announcement of new sanctions by the United States, the clerical regime had pinned hope on the European Union and its special mechanism, and on Russia and China.
So far, there has been no serious progress in the relationship with Europe, and the media and figures of both factions express hopelessness and disappointment. Javad Zarif said as much about the special financial mechanism of the European Union called SPV in an interview with a Khorasan newspaper on December 25, 2018, “Europeans had a serious opportunity in Iran and they lost this opportunity because of inaction against the United States, or internal intransigence or opportunism (they wanted to use the benefits without paying a price). Unfortunately, Europe has no readiness to pay the price, the one who has lost in the SPV case in Europe”
Zarif acknowledges that the regime did not profit from its relationship with Europe and its special mechanism, but at the same time, he is speculating that Europe has lost in this matter. The fact is that the main loser in relation to Europe is the clerical regime that has so far failed to get a serious concession from Europe after the US withdrawing from the JCPOA.
it is clear that China will also not be too helpful for Iran’s collapsed economy, especially in the face of banking sanctions.
One of the regime’s agents, Massoud Khayatzadeh, a member of the regime’s Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged that the banking relationship with China has also been cut off, saying, “While almost all countries had interrupted relations with Iran, China was the only one that maintained its small relationship with us. The fact that the Bank of Kunlun would once again engage in a discussion of banking transactions, that has not yet been successful, could have a significant effect on the future of the economy.”
“Today, more than 80 percent of our imports and exports are from the maritime sector, and this disconnection is not a pleasant thing, in other words, a tsunami is taking place in our trade,” Khaytakadzadeh added.
Another member of the Chamber of Commerce, Majid Pourkaed, said about the sanctions of the Chinese Bank and its effect on the Iranian economy, “Undoubtedly, cutting off relations, will create a huge impediment to our economic system, in other words, it would engage us in an uncertainty.”
It will not be unexpected that in the not-so-distant future, we will witness more economic chaos and collapse, as the collapsed economy does not have enough capacity to resist sanctions and save itself; nor is there a prospect of serious aid from the outside, in particular from the European Union.
Previously, many media outlets of Europe and Iran have repeatedly acknowledged this fact, and even if the particular European mechanism is implemented, it cannot deal with severe sanctions. This mechanism can only solve the exchange of goods with goods, or the exchange of oil for food, which in no way can seriously help the crisis-gripped economy.
In the meantime Members of Resistance Units, a network associated to the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), are targeting bases of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Basij paramilitary forces and regime icons on a daily basis. And according to Iran News wire, There were more than 271 Iran protests in 72 cities, villages, and industrial areas in Iran in the month of January 2019 with an average of nine protests per day.