Capitalism is Key to Iran’s Foreign Policy

iran map

It’s ironic that on the eve of the 35th anniversary of the Islamic revolution which shunned capitalistic ambitions, Tehran has become so focused on money. Ideals of frugality which were symbolized in Khomeini’s living in a small rented apartment have given way to flashy cars and billion-dollar deals by people who are close to power.

People on the streets may be chanting “Death to America/Obama/Kerry”, placards might read  “we are eager for all options on the table” and Iranian generals may be warning about the “decisive battle” that will be fought with the US but Rouhani is constantly reminding the world that there is money to be made in Iran…lots of money.

Although legally the sanctions that have kept the status quo for the past decade are still in place, businesses from the private and public sectors from all over the world are flocking to Tehran and are either circumventing sanctions or preparing to do so.

The Call of the Rial

Obama may warn about punishing sanction violators “like a ton of bricks” but the call of the Rial is too strong to ignore. So while Obama met his French counterpart Hollande in Washington last week, hundreds of French executives were conducting meeting in Tehran and there isn’t a lot that anyone can do about it.

Iran’s economy is on the rise to the point that the $7 Billion promised in the deal are becoming less important than the fact that the doors to Tehran’s economy have been flung open and over 100 commercial delegations walked in hungrily. After years of contraction and amid a world recession, Iran’s economy is set to grow this year. This is great news for Rouhani but not for the P5+1 partners because as Tehran’s economy strengthens, its commitment to uphold the nuclear deal weakens.

Iran’s estimated $500 Billion economy is up for grabs and the nuclear dimension of the deal is being systematically minimized by each business venture developing in Tehran today.

Oil and Much More

Iran’s oil exports have risen by 100,000 barrels a day despite reductions in exports to Syria and Korea and Iran is beginning to cash in on the relief of sanctions by getting paid for oil that was exported in the past. India owes $3 Billion which Iran wants to cash in and by “coincidence”, Zarif is supposed to visit India later this month.

Money is a great motivator and diplomacy can be a great enabler. Delegations from Russia, Italy, Sweden, France, Germany, Ireland, the UK, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan are hot on the money trail and delegations from the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and others are right behind them. These people have only one goal in mind and they have no agenda concerning Iran’s nuclear program, its involvement with terrorism, its meddling nature in neighboring counties or its human rights.

Syria key to Iran…and to Russia

iran syria

Syria is Key to Iran’s Foreign Policy

One of the most important issues on the agendas of world leaders right now is the still raging Syrian civil war. Its importance goes far beyond the suffering of the Syrian people and the great number of casualties quite simply because Iran is involved.

Make no mistake, it is not the fate of the Syrian people that is of interest to Iran. It is the fate of Assad, one of Tehran’s staunchest allies who is key to Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East.

Iran supports Assad with its own IRGC forces and Hezbollah troops on Syrian battlefields as well as financially. That’s why it seemed strange to invite Iran to the peace talks with Syria since Iran obviously has a vested interest in this equation. In the meantime, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif visits Assad, doing all he can to maintain a high profile as a legitimate mediator while trying not to seem too pushy insisting that Iran would participate in talks only “if we are invited” while stipulating his own precondition against preconditions.

So while Zarif “innocently” maintained that “only Syrians should shape their future“, he waited for the invitation, got the invite from UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, and then got disinvited the next day.

The Tehran-Moscow-Damascus Axis

The question of whether Iran should play a part in the talks over Syria’s future is openly backed by Russia: The Russians believe that Iran is “key to Syria peace efforts” and a “Tehran-Moscow-Damascus” axis is being promoted by none other than President Putin himself.

The Russians have a lot to gain in supporting Tehran. Although they claim that they have no hidden agendas, they are focused on the “post-nuclear-deal” stage in order to reap a cool $1.5 Billion a month in oil-for-goods trade as well as sales of military equipment in the billions.

So it seems natural that Russia joined Iran in criticizing the “disinvite” to the talks regardless of the questionable legitimacy of Iran’s role as a mediator.

Needless to say, the growing ties between Iran and Russia are ruffling feathers in the West because they undermine any pressure that could have been placed by Europe and the US in the nuclear issue.

In the meantime, the Syrian people are suffering from being disposable pawns in a much larger game.

Related post: Rouhani Needs to Clean Iran of Syria

Khamenei’s Priorities – Power through Terror

khamenei_priorities terror

Khamenei Priority on Global Terrorism Terrorizing Iranian Economy

It is now evident that Khamenei’s will and his priorities dictate Tehran’s regime and unfortunately for the Iranian people, Khamenei’s priorities are very expensive – specifically his aggressive terror/paranoia fueled foreign policy.

He might not be able to dictate his will outside of Iran but his emphasis on global subversion is terrorizing large parts of the planet and undermining Iran’s own economy: estimated 40% inflation, 25% unemployment, 80% devaluation and a $133 billion deficit as well as price hikes in nearly every category.  “Our missiles can travel thousands of kilometers, but we have problems supplying bread and meat” – Mohsen Rezaei interview.

Apart from terror being used internally to retain power, silence criticism and dissidents, Tehran is currently deploying 3 forms of terrorism outside its borders.

Global Terrorism on the Rise:

Over 2012, Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods joined forces to attempt and succeed in a series of terrorist acts targeting civilians and diplomats in the US (Foiled plot to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in 2012 linked to “senior members of the Qods force“), India/Georgia (“sticky” bombs under diplomat cars by Qods operatives), Thailand (Qods sticky bomb factory explodes leading to arrests), Kenya (2 Iranian Qods operatives busted for plotting bomb attacks),  Bulgaria (Hezbollah blows up tourist bus killing 6), Nigeria (IRGC arms smuggler busted).

Behind each attempt or “success” is a “back-office” of planners, financers, foot soldiers etc…who supply the necessary resources to support the soon to be martyrs at the frontline. Following the AMIA bombing of the in Buenos Aires in 1994, Argentinian Prosecutor Alberto Nisman recently released a 500 page report on a network of terrorist cells, backed by Iranian Intelligence, that are surfacing all over Latin America.

IRGC/Qods, Iranian Intelligence and Hezbollah are all bankrolled by Tehran – Hezbollah alone costs the Iranian tax payer an estimated $300 million a year

Khamenei’s response: “Intensify attacks against the West and its allies around the world“..

Nuclear Terrorism:

Even without a nuclear bomb, Tehran’s nuclear ambitions have the world “on edge” due to non-transparency mixed with Armageddon-type threats…one bomb can turn “on edge” to over the edge.

By far the most expensive form of terrorism is the nuclear card which has resulted in an estimated $100 billion dollars lost to date – this figure will continue to rise as long as the nuclear crisis continues and will definitely spike once Tehran has a bomb.

Out of the Closet Terror in Syria:

Hezbollah’s open involvement in the Syria has changed simultaneously the rules and the odds.

Khamenei’s support for Assad through an ever increasing line of credit ($1 billion, then $4 billion and now $7 Billion), regular snuggling of arms shipments by air/trucks and repeated blessings on the open and active support of Assad by Hezbollah add up to a real game changer in an already volatile situation.

Innocent Syrian civilians dying at the hands of Hezbollah fighters who are endoctrined and financed by Iran are a clear reminder that Khamenei’s power is growing and that the need to hide it is becoming less important.

For a more detailed post on Syria – https://iran2407.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/khameneis-priority-support-syria-at-all-costs/

For more detailed post on the economy – https://iran2407.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/khameneis-priorities-stifle-iranians-election-hopes/.

For more detailed post on signs of dissent to Khamenei’s priorities –https://iran2407.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/khameneis-nuclear-priority-under-attack/

Here’s a persian version – please share:

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Dictator Khamenei’s priorities stifle Iranians’ election hopes

khamenei's priorities

khamenei’s priorities

Upcoming “Elections” in Iran anything but FREE

Up to a few weeks ago, the upcoming elections in Iran gave rise to hopes that Ahmadinejad’s successor might be someone who can create a paradigm shift in Iran’s priorities.

Those hopes died out quite quickly as over 680 candidates were disqualified leaving only Khamenei’s puppets on the field.

Khamenei’s Priorities are OUTbound

Based on Khamenei’s actions and rhetoric in the past, no one should have been surprised: the Supreme Leader has not flinched from his policies since the crisis over Iran’s suspect nuclear program blew up. In fact, Khamenei’s policies can be summed up as being OUTbound, focusing on Iran’s positioning in the Middle East, instead of being INbound and focusing on the livelihood of the Iranian people.

Money that should have allowed Iranians to enjoy the luxuries of an energy-rich nation is consistently channeled outward to support terrorist groups and Syria and a highly suspect nuclear program.

Khamenei ignores internal economic priorities

Iran’s strategy of denial and non-transparency, together with its Armageddon-type rhetoric regarding its nuclear program, led to sanctions and an estimated cost of over $100 Billion, leaving the Iranian economy to an all-time low.

Iran’s economy, recently ranked by Reuters at 168 out 177, is in shambles. On a macro-economic level, the Rial has devalued by over 80%, inflation is estimated at 40%, the deficit has reached an all-time high of $133 billion and the future looks bleak.

On the level of the average Iranian, these macro indicators are translated into a drastic decrease in purchasing power: natural gas/diesel/gasoline prices have risen steeply (800%, 900% and 400% respectively), real estate in Tehran has risen over 100% in one year, imports of medicine have dropped by 54% (imports of cars and cloth are dropping steadily) and food shortages are growing daily.

Iran’s nuclear program – asset or liability?

 Notwithstanding the probable military aspect of Iran’s nuclear program, no one, least of all the IAEA and the UN,  disputes the rights of Iran to produce nuclear electricity but nearly everything about Iran’s insistence on its nuclear program just does not make sense.

Iran has relatively no uranium to fuel its nuclear ambitions meaning that it will always be dependent on foreign supplies to run its reactors. Furthermore, Iran’s attempts at hiding the true nature of its nuclear program have increased the costs of establishing and maintaining nuclear plants by huge investments in underground facilities and geographical isolation.

On the other hand, Iran has the 4th largest reserves of oil and 2nd largest reserves of natural gas in the world – enough energy to power Iran for centuries.

Furthermore, green energy in the form of Hydro, Wind or Solar has huge potential that is wholly untapped: A sound solar energy program could supply 13 times the electricity needs at a fraction of the cost of a nuclear power as well as a release from sanctions – A real win-win-win situation.

And yet, the Iranian regime, with Khamenei at its head repeatedly chooses to place its nuclear aspirations and its support of terrorism before the needs of its people and that means that the next president has to continue toeing the line of an economic policy that is based on fear.

Despite his repeated denials concerning weapons of mass-destruction, Khamenei’s nuclear gamble at the expense of the Iranian people makes sense only if he does intend to build a bomb designed to be a game changer for Iran in the Middle East. Once that happens, the potential for an all-out, perhaps even nuclear, war will be imminent with devastating repercussions for all.

Elections will Strengthen Khamenei and Weaken the Iranian People

Until then, the Iranian people are the real victims and due to the laws governing elections in Iran, they will continue suffering since the next president will not represent the people of Iran but will represent the priorities of their Supreme Leader.

In general, elections are meant to represent the people who set out to vote for their priorities and their conscience. The elections in Iran, as well as the next president of Iran, represent the priorities and the conscience of one man alone – a Supreme Leader who seems to be blind to the needs of his people at the expense of his regime’s dominance at all costs.

Update: Iranians Protest Against Dictator Khamenei

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