Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran September 20, 2019—Observers and political analysts believe that the tightening noose of economic sanctions has led the Iranian regime to attack Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities. Iranian regime’s pundits call their current situation an “economic suffocation” or an “economic and political dead-end.” Similar signs of the Islamic Republic’s dire situation are spread across Iranian media in their authorities’ own words.
On September 17, Fars news agency, close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), quoted Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani’s first deputy saying the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has given the green light to withdraw $300 million from the regime’s Development Fund. According to Eshaq Jahangiri, the money will be used to build the Chabahar-Zahedan railway.
The Chabahar-Zahedan railway is part of the so-called Macran project. Two years ago, in a visit to Zahedan, Rouhani claimed the project plans are ready and the budget already approved. The Chabahar-Zahedan and Zahedan-Afghanistan railway has been under the monopoly of the IRGC Khatam-al Anbiya Construction Headquarters since 2013-2014.
Now, under the pretext of financing Iran’s infrastructure, the Iranian regime is using the Development Fund to cover its economic bankruptcy.
But this time it’s different and the Iranian regime won’t be able to compensate with this type of maneuvers. In a recent report, the center for studies in the regime’s Majlis (parliament) revealed that 59 percent of the National Development Fund’s resources are “spent outside of the fund’s passed charter by acquiring permission or passing different laws.”
Meanwhile, Asadollah Abbasi, spokesperson for the Majlis board, said that the financing of subsidies will be discussed in a private Majlis session on September 29. According to Abbasi, the Majlis will also study the issue of 98 trillion tomans [more than $6 billion at the rate of 15,000 tomans a dollar] of hidden subsidies to further shrink the budget. This is the same budget where under the pretext of preventing the upper class from exploiting the system, the Iranian regime is cutting subsidies, sending prices to soar once again.
Mohammad Ali Dehghan, deputy to Iran’s Minister of Economy,” attempted to paint a rosy picture of the regime’s economy. “The economic situation is special, because we are in the middle of an economic war and there are many limitations against our country. We had many significant economic turbulences over the past year. This overall situation has put our economy in a bad situation, both regarding the inflation and stagnation.”
Majlis member Hadi Ghavami made it crystal clear how the regime’s economy is suffocating. “We are feeling the difference between 2018 and 2019. There is a meaningful difference. As I said, part of it is because… in 2019 we don’t sell 1.5 to 1.6 million barrels of oil [per day].”
The Resalat newspaper wrote on September 17 that 60 percent of job seekers in Iran are university graduates and “only 20 percent of graduates are absorbed by the job market.”
Jahan-e Sanat, an Iranian newspaper specializing in economic news, acknowledges that “poor people are getting poorer and the rich even richer” by the day.
Mohammad Gholi Yousefi, an Iranian economic pundit close to Rouhani’s faction, writes: “Statistics for the inflation rate and its increasing trend, increasing unemployment, and families’ living standards show that poverty is spreading in the society.”
Saying that “sanctions and peoples’ decreasing purchasing power has accelerated a decrease in domestic production and led the economy into periods of stagflation,” Yousefi challenged the government’s policies. “One of the fundamental problems with Iran’s diplomacy is that the people are ignored. This has destroyed dear opportunities for the society and delayed deep economic crises.”
“Otherwise, considering the current situation, the economy will remain entangled in the political and economic dead-end,” he concluded reiterating the necessity to change the Iranian regime’s foreign policy and economic approach.