Innocent Iranians pay for the crimes of their leadership
The Iranian economy has been in the doldrums for quite some time.
On Saturday Iran experienced one of the deadliest attacks on its soil in a decade. Twenty five people, including 12 Revolutionary Guards, were killed and over 60 injured when four terrorists opened fired at a military parade in Ahvaz in southwest Iran. The Hassan Rouhani government has been quick to hurl abuse at the United States and its allies for the attack, just like it does for anything that goes wrong in the country. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards have threatened to avenge the attack, and launch a deadly offensive without corroborating its statements with any kind of evidence. The hawkish tone adopted by the Iranian regime is shocking and even suggestive of the narrative the Rouhani government wants to build and cash on. Come to think of it, Iran has been caught in the mess of its own doings.
For years, the regime has been concentrating its energies and resources on fighting proxy wars and covertly meddling in the domestic affairs of regional countries. Once flourishing nations, Syria and Yemen have descended into chaos, Lebanon is crumbling under the pressure of refugees, and Iran largely shares blame for it all. The Iranian regime has a warped understanding of how influence can be exerted regionally, and now its foreign policy is caught in a self-defeating spiral. Despite striking a nuclear deal with the West in 2015, the government failed to introduce reforms it badly needs and make progress.
The Iranian economy has been in the doldrums for quite some time. In fact, months before the US pulled out of the nuclear deal of 2015, Iranians were out on the street protesting against the government that has brought them nothing but misery and difficulties. The currency has been weakening, inflation spiralling, cost of living rising, and the youth particularly are enraged over the lack of jobs. Yet, the Iranian regime blames the US for its economic woes.
The president of Iran has even called the US a bully. US President Donald Trump is right in labelling Iran as "the world's leading sponsor of terrorism" with a "sinister vision of the future". In fact, Washington is right in believing that rolling back Iranian influence would help restore order in the Middle East. But for now, Iran's hawkish tone could make a bad situation worse.