Iran’s supreme leader bitterly complains that the West has not kept its promises and that economic sanctions on his country have not been lifted although Tehran has halted its nuclear program as required. The situation in Iran must be difficult for the Iranian government to complain this much.
It has a very bad luck as the oil prices are still cheap and this is why Iran’s financial situation, after signing the nuclear deal, is much worse than it was at the same time last year after accepting the initial agreement!
The Iranian command did not think this will happen as it assumed lifting sanctions will end its economic crisis.
At the same time, the scope of Iran’s military involvement in other countries has increased due to the escalation of battles and funding of its allies, such as Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen.
Iran, like the rest of oil-producing countries, has lost more than 60 percent of its major income and financial transactions, which it regained from its frozen assets, that did not help it either.
Moreover, the contracts and deals it rushed to sign with several governments and global companies to buy weapons and civil aircrafts and carry out infrastructure projects lack funding; this means that Tehran will have to pay more interests for banks and fines if it delays the payments.
The Iranian government did not get to be happy that it signed the nuclear deal and this is why the supreme leader is expressing his anger in bitterness towards the West.
He, himself, might have been deceived when his team, which was enthusiastic to reconcile with the West, convinced him that the nuclear deal will resolve the country’s financial problems; however, he realized that revenues have significantly decreased.
Nevertheless, this is not the case of his neighbors who compete with him, such as the oil-producing Gulf countries because they have massive reserves and funds capable of financing the deficit; in addition to that world banks are also willing to lend them money when needed. Iran does not have any of that.
This is why the government in Tehran has to realize that the reconciliation with Washington alone will not grant it wealth, influence or dominance. Perhaps, it has to realize that no matter how much it empowers its military force and its Revolutionary Guard Corps, it will not be able to end the deficiency in the budget of bread and rice and meet its citizens’ basic needs.
Iran wants to impose its conditions everywhere and in all the fields. It wants to raise the oil prices globally without getting affected, like it did in the recent OPEC conference in Doha after it has repeatedly refused to decrease its share of production and asked other OPEC countries, such as the Gulf ones, to decrease their shares for the prices to increase.
Not only that, but Iran also wants the Yemen crisis’ peace negotiators in Kuwait to grant its Houthi ally more than it deserves at the expense of the Yemeni situation, which existed before the Houthis’ coup.
It refuses to make any concessions in Syria as it insists to maintain the entire Damascus regime represented by Bashar al-Assad and uses its militias to serve this purpose.
It pushes its allies in Iraq, such as former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, to stir chaos by altering the political map.
Possibly, what further increased frustration in Iran is that the supreme leader, the president and the rest of the state figures have promised the Iranian people, at the beginning of this year, that there will be a phase of quick boom. They did so to convince them that regardless of them being forced to tolerate the international sanctions for 20 years, they have finally won the battle, although they did not fulfill their promise of a nuclear bomb. Nonetheless, the Iranians currently realize that this is not the truth and that they put up with 20 years only to become poorer than they already were.
After failing to make profits from the nuclear deal, has the formula become clearer to policymakers and those executing these policies in Tehran? The reconciliation with the West will not succeed at resolving Iran’s structural crises and will not address the regime’s urgent needs.
If Tehran’s regime ruled upon logic and reason, it would have extended its hand to all of its neighbors to overcome its crises, which are mostly triggered by it.
The regional reconciliation can achieve the same goals of stability and prosperity for the Iranians and their Gulf neighbors. However, for regimes like Iran and North Korea, this logic is difficult to understand, and continuing to reject this logic only worsens Tehran’s crises. Iran wants to expand and dominate when it can’t even feed its own people.