Analysis by PMOI/MEK
March 31, 2019 - At the beginning of the Persian New Year, the crises the Iranian regime faces seem to be entangled more than ever before. Sanctions increase the impact of the economic situation while the latter increases the popular discontent and threatens to culminate in a widespread uprising that endangers the entire Iranian regime. And the imminent threat of an uprising increases the infighting among different factions of the ruling elite who fear losing their positions of power and predict a gloomy future for their regime.
One faction argues that considering the gloomy prospects for the Islamic Republic in the Persian new year, their only option is to drink the poisoned cup of retreat and approve the required laws to conform to standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to avoid a total economic collapse. All the while, the other faction highlights the dangers of committing suicide out of fear for death.
Mohammad-Reza Bahonar, a former member of the parliament and current member of the Expediency Discernment Council, voices grave concerns in this regard.
“Discussion about the FATF are very important and it is sort of like walking on the razor’s edge. On both sides [of the argument] there are benefits and damages. The discernment council needs to come up with a conclusion deciding which of the options has less damages. Therefore, there has been many discussions in the council, and we still haven’t reached a conclusion and the discussions are supposed to continue,” he said.
Warning about the current situation of the Iranian economy, Bahonar said that “next year’s budget isn’t normal because our resources are more limited than past year.”
“For next year, many issues are more impacted by psychological parameters than by real economic parameters. Meanwhile, the psychological warfare of the enemy is also tough and some people in the country, unwillingly or God forbid willingly, are fanning this warfare,” he added.
Afshar Soleimani, Iran’s former ambassador to Azerbaijan, considers “the economic crisis being the result of mismanagement by different national institutions, and U.S. sanctions being the Achilles heel of the regime,” advising the mullahs’ regime to concede to the international community.
“Currently, it seems that the problems and challenges of 2018-2019 in Iran’s foreign relations will escalate and continue in 2019-2020. If INSTEX (the European special financial mechanism) does not become operational or if it becomes a low-impact and limited expedition and Iran leaves the JCPOA in return (which seems unlikely), and if the FATF related bills that have been passed by the parliament are not approved by the expediency discernment council, then the economic and monetary situation of the country and the national currency’s value will become more crises-riddled than before,” he added.
Gharavian, an Iranian cleric from Qom who is close to Rouhani’s faction, also advises the ruling theocracy to concede to the international community to rescue the regime.
“Our relations with the world need reforms. The Expediency Discernment Council has a heavy responsibility on its shoulders regarding the FATF and international conventions. We need to work on improving the livelihood of the people and keep the dignity of the Iranian people,” he said, deceitfully using the term “people” for the regime.
The same fear is also evident among the faction opposing the FATF.
Reza Alizadeh, a member of the regime’s Majlis (parliament), says: “Currently, accepting the FATF is detrimental to the country and the people.”
The fact is that none of the available options provide a silver bullet for the current economic crisis of the mullahs’ regime.
Considering the nature of the ruling theocracy in Tehran, the problems and difficulties that officials from both factions raise are true. As pointed out earlier, the Iranian regime is not and has never been capable of true reforms that will render it into a responsible member of the international community.
The export and financing of terrorism with all their accompanying evil are not just byproducts of a power struggle between different ruling factions in Iran, but rather one of the main pillars that holds the heavy weight of a corrupt kleptocracy right out of the dark ages.