NCRI - The widespread anti-regime protests in Iran have been fuelled by corruption at all levels of government that has tanked the economy- especially since the 2015 nuclear deal.
Lee Smith, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute noted that the protests are definitely political, as the protesters are widely calling for an end to the Regime, but they are driven by economic factors that have not been solved by the nuclear accord.
Smith said: “Economies under authoritarian regimes like the one in Tehran always reflect the country’s political architecture. The allocation of financial resources and privileges is how an authoritarian regime dispenses political favours and indicates its political preferences. Protests about the economy are by definition protests against the political structure of the regime.”
When the nuclear deal was agreed, many promised that this would be the end to Iran’s financial woes and that the Iranian people would be better off. One study even promised a growth in Iran’s economy of 4% per year for five years.
Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said: “Iran is expected to use new revenues chiefly to address those needs, including by shoring up its budget, building infrastructure, maintaining the stability of the rial, and attracting imports.”
While former President Barack Obama, said: “Our best analysts expect the bulk of this revenue to go into spending that improves the economy and benefits the lives of the Iranian people.”
So the international community relaxed sanctions, released billions in frozen funds, and waited for the Iranian economy to right itself. Unfortunately, when that money was passed through the mullahs it was used for terrorism and war, rather than anything that would benefit the Iranian people.
In 2017, the Regime’s parliament even approved a 24% increase in spending of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Roughly 40% of the economy is already controlled by the IRGC, including the oil industry, infrastructure development, construction, manufacturing, electronics, and the biggest import-export contracts. They use this money to fund aggressive attacks on other Middle Eastern countries.
Worse still, the IRGC and other Regime members use Iranian banks as their own personal slush fund, taking out loans that they never pay back, which is effectively theft of the Iranian people’s money. They’ve also set up unregulated financial institutions, convinced people to deposit their money, and then swiftly closed down.
Saeed Ghasseminejad, who specializes in Iran’s financial sector at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, explains that this has led to “hundreds of thousands of people [losing] their savings.”
In short, the nuclear deal has only increased the money that the Regime can use to punish its own people and create havoc in the Middle East.