I strongly believe that it is only a matter of time before the Iranian Republic of Mullahs collapses because it is an underdeveloped polity of clerics that cannot cope with the civilized world or needs of modernity.
Despite their different orientations and approaches, most contemporary regimes depend on the capitalist system of economy, specifically the free market economy, especially following the collapse of the socialist eastern bloc’s states of which one or two states are left standing. Economy is thus the main artery of states. If anything happens to the economy, the entire state will be affected and vice versa.
The Islamist political experiment, be it of the Shiite or Sunni variety, does not concern itself with the state of the economy nor with individual welfare or social services. Its primary concern is the spread of its ideology, irrespective of the high cost it may entail. Thus, ideology is the main priority for the Islamist countries, just as in the Middle Ages. For all these reasons, I am certain that states which borrow their understanding and conditions solely from the past cannot survive.
The latest Iranian news states that: The Iranian currency ‘toman’ recently fell against the dollar by more than 37 percent compared to its level in early 2018. US President Donald Trump intends the US to withdraw from the nuclear agreement, signed between Iran and the US and the rest of superpowers, unless the Iranian theocratic state accepts modifying it.
If the US withdraws from it, economic sanctions that had a telling effect on Iran’s economy would be back in place (as they were before signing the agreement) which would cause the Iranian currency to flounder, thus automatically increasing the prices of goods and services, especially imported products, to the extent that the majority of the Iranian population would not be able to bear it.
If Iran wishes to survive, it must abandon its expansionist project and expenditure on wars outside its borders, or else its collapse is inevitableMohammed Al Shaikh
Action against currency traders
The theocratic regime in Iran has tried to control the dollar exchange rate and arrested many currency traders and enforced the official dollar price. However, all these measures have failed to check the falling currency, which makes the possibility of a huge revolution against the Iranian regime just around the corner. Iran’s only solution to avoid this is to comply with Trump’s conditions.
Probably, the so-called reformists in Iran might reluctantly accept US terms and conditions, led by the current President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani. However the hardliners and fundamentalists, who are practically led by Khamenei, firmly oppose any concession that might diminish Iran’s capability to produce a nuclear bomb in the future. They justify this in accordance with their fundamentalist outlook which supports exporting the Khomeinist revolutionary concept on which they have been spending billions of dollars.
Thus, they believe the renunciation of the revolution is tantamount to giving up on the expansions they achieved during the revolution – expansions which they consider part of their loyalty to what they call the Imam's Line. On top of these hardliners is the Revolutionary Guards which has controlled a large percentage of Iran’s financial revenues, particularly oil and gas revenues, ever since the revolution. The Revolutionary Guards will thus fight fiercely to defend these earnings, even if they have to do what Bashar al-Assad did in Syria.
The price of ‘toman’ now is the standard through which the future of the theocratic sate can be predicted. Neither the Supreme Leader, who is biased in his support for the fundamentalists, nor the Revolutionary Guards, no matter what their repressive practices are, can overcome hunger, poverty, and the collapsed service infrastructure forever. Therefore, if the Islamic Republic of Iran wishes to survive, it must abandon its expansionist project and expenditure on wars outside its borders, or else its collapse is inevitable.
This article was originally published in al-Jazirah.
Mohammed Al Shaikh is a Saudi writer with al-Jazirah newspaper. He tweets @alshaikhmhmd.