Coinciding with a dangerously explosive atmosphere inside Iran, the currency nosediving to less than half value in a mere five months and the relentless waves of protests spreading throughout the country, the noose of regional and international isolation is suffocating the clerical regime.
The US is busy escalating sanctions against Tehran to end its malign regional meddling. In parallel fashion, the Iranian regime no longer has any hope in Europe and their “European package,” nor in Russia to provide cushioning in the face of Washington’s ongoing offensive.
Iran Action Group
To add insult to injury, the US State Department has just launched the Iran Action Group headed by Brian Hook, the now US Special Representative on Iran. According to State Department officials this special body aims to coordinate and implement US government policies vis-à-vis Iran.
“For nearly 40 years, the regime in Tehran has been responsible for a torrent of violent and destabilizing behavior against the United States, our allies, our partners, and indeed the Iranian people themselves,” Sec. Mike Pompeo said in his announcement.
Hook provided the following, “… when you look at the kind of money that Iran provides to Assad and to Shia militias, to Lebanese Hizballah, it’s billions and billions of dollars. And we need to get at drying up those revenue streams.”
Diminishing regional influence
US measures against the Iranian regime are in line with an intensifying political/economic siege imposed against Tehran across the region. Sec. Pompeo expressed his gratitude in a telephone call to Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaledi for his country’s support in regards to Iraq’s emergency energy needs and the long-term reconstruction effort.
It is worth noting Iraq has been witnessing widespread popular protests in the past few weeks, especially in the country’s southern provinces. Power outages resulting from Iran cutting off its exports – due to domestic outrage as Iranians themselves are suffering from severe power shortages – was the force behind this outburst of demanding protests.
The Iraqi people, especially residents of Najaf and Basra, vividly expressed their abhorrence regarding the Iranian regime’s unbridled meddling in their country. Iraqi protesters were heard chanting, “Iran, out, out,” while setting fire to images of Iranian regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini and current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Afterwards the Iraqi government moved to procure energy shortages from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Furthermore, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Baghdad cannot neglect US sanctions against Iran and continue financial transactions and trade with Iran based on the previous framework.
Iran did not remain silent.
“Implementing US sanctions against Iran is Haider al-Abadi’s personal position and not that of the government nor the Iraqi people,” said Iranian MP Heshmattollah Falahatpisheh, a member of National Security and Foreign Policy Committee. The Iranian regime’s official ISNA news agency covered his blatant threats against al-Abadi. “In the past various Iraqi officials who adopted positions against Iran were subsequently eliminated from the Iraqi spectrum,” he said.
Further on, dilemmas are also brewing for Iran’s regime in Syria.
“US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton will discuss arms control treaties and Iran’s role in Syria in talks with Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev in Geneva next week,” according to Reuters citing a US administration official.
“The two agreed in principle that the Iranians should exit Syria,” the report adds.
Russia, however, is not the only glimmer of hope fading away for the Iranian regime. In a recent state TV interview Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shed light on his lost hope in Europe.
“We believe the Europeans must take far more actions, meaning they must go further than mere remarks and accept the fact that if they intend to take advantage of the Iran nuclear deal’s interests, they must invest in safeguarding the deal. Right now the Europeans claim they are paving the path. However, in action we believe the Europeans have not been willing to invest as they should. We have yet to see such actions,” Zarif said.
Zarif’s disappointment is specifically referring to the avalanche of European companies deciding to call it quits in Iran. This includes a recent outflow of German companies such as Daimler, Deutsche Bahn and Deutsche Telekom. The latter two will be leaving Iranian soil in August and September, respectively.
All this and we are only two weeks into the first round of US sanctions against Iran. Another ten weeks remain until November when the further crippling oil and banking measures are scheduled for re-installment.
The more such crippling measures, the further Iran’s regime will weaken domestically. This is a recipe for disaster as the clerics are growing increasingly concerned about their future with Iran protests continuing to pose grave distresses for Tehran.
Disclaimer - This author is writing under a pseudonym to protect his identity.