VSt is harder than negotiating a carpet in the Tehran bazaar and undoubtedly more necessary than ever: the palaver over Iranian nuclear power resumes on November 29 in Vienna. The Islamic Republic believes that it is negotiating from a position of strength against the United States. Inside, however, the situation is different. The photo that emerges is of a regime now stuck in sterile conservatism – and the feeling is that of a big mess.
Iran is, in part, right: it is all Donald Trump’s fault. In 2018, the American president left the agreement concluded on July 14, 2015 in Vienna. He denies the signature of the United States. The mechanics of Vienna were simple. Tehran’s nuclear program was placed under international surveillance. In return, the sanctions to which Iran was subject – for violating its nuclear obligations – were gradually lifted. Instead, Trump crushed the Iranian economy under new sanctions and the Islamic Republic freed itself from the constraints of the Vienna accord. Everyone loses.
Appointed more than elected – the opposition could not present themselves – the conservative president Ebrahim Raïssi ends his first hundred days at the head of the government. He travels the provinces and discovers a devastated economic landscape. The Trump sanctions are not the only cause or even the comings and goings of the price of hydrocarbons. The tragic management of the economy by the Islamic Republic has its share of responsibility. Corruption, monopolies, privileges, inequalities, politico-military overinvestment abroad, under investment at home.
The suffering of the Iranians
Social discontent is more acute than ever. Inflation exceeds 45%; unemployment is exploding; the brain drain is accelerating. Iran is the country most affected by Covid-19 in the region. In June, Guide Ali Khamenei, supreme head of the regime’s institutional gas plant, banned the import of vaccines from the West – because the West is Evil. The Iranians are suffering.
« In Iran, Trump made the poor miserable, he impoverished the middle class and made the rich even richer », those who take advantage of the “system”, says Farid Vahid, one of the contributors to the Jean-Jaurès Foundation. Conclusion: to relieve the country, President Raïssi urgently needs a rapid lifting of sanctions, and therefore a new agreement in Vienna.
But the Guide would be on a different line. He wouldn’t be in a hurry. China has started to import Iranian crude on a massive scale. The Arabs of the Gulf are slowly resuming contact with Tehran. Admirer of North Korea, Ali Khamenei maintains a fantasy: to endow Iran, a country of 83 million inhabitants, with a self-sufficient war economy. All positions of power, from the Guide to Parliament, may be in the hands of the Conservatives, they do not have the same interests. The Islamic Republic is no longer able to reach a consensus within itself, to make choices, to follow a pragmatic line.
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