While it looks on the outside that Iran is winning the battle of wills versus the West in its defiance of UN Sanctions requiring it halt its nuclear program, this article from Cedar Revolution paints a different picture.
To many observers Iran is the big winner in the Middle East. While the end result remains to be seen, what seems certain is that the Islamic republic appears to be faring better geopolitically than domestically. And although uncensored information regarding the country’s internal problems is scarce and tough to find, reports of increasing trouble in the country are starting to filter out.
The situation in some provinces inhabited by minorities is far from ideal for Tehran. The Kurdish province has seen regular violent clashes between Kurds and Iranian forces. Consequently, Tehran has recently stepped-up its repression of the Kurdish population.
Unrest, however, is not limited to the Kurds; the Baluch minority is cause of great concern to the regime. In fact, the newsletter TheCroissant.com reported that Iran is discreetly leading a violent military campaign in the Kerman province, bordering Baluchistan.
An islamic regime leading a violent oppressive campaign??? No!! That’s not possible! Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance! /sarc
In addition to the domestic unrest, there are economic issues at work as well.
The situation of the economy is far from brilliant. One would think with the barrel of oil at about $115, and Iran sitting on the second-largest gas and oil reserves in the world, the country’s economy would be thriving.
But economic statistics show a bleak picture: officially, inflation stands at about 20 percent, and unemployment around 15 percent (while many estimate this rate to be around 30 percent). GDP’s growth for 2007 could reach 4.5 percent instead of the 6 percent expected. Iran’s economy is quite frail: indeed 85 percent of Iran’s revenue comes from the sale of oil abroad but at the same time, Iran imports an important chunk of the refined products it uses, like gasoline (about 40 percent).
Furthermore, it looks like not only the U.N. sanctions against Iran, but more importantly, the financial pressures imposed by the U.S. Treasury are having a significant impact on the economy.
A recent French government report notes how dire the situation is for the Iranian economy. Because of a drying of foreign investment, vital to the survival of the economy especially in the oil and gas sector, Iran could become a net importer of oil within 15 years.
A very interesting piece indeed.