There is talk in the region about arrangements and operations that Iran is preparing to carry out on the first anniversary of the assassination of Lieutenant General Qasem Soleimani, the former commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Perhaps what raised the level of belief in the possibility of Iran's retaliation is the tweet by the Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei, posted on 16 December 2020, in which he said that "whoever ordered and carried out the assassination of Lieutenant General Qasem Soleimani must pay the price", and that "this revenge is inevitable", considering that "Soleimani's shoes are more honourable than his killer’s head".
On 10 November 2020, Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a "comprehensive ceasefire agreement" under overt Russian sponsorship and with tacit Turkish support, after the bloody battles that took place between the forces of the two countries in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. While most of the analyses focused on what Armenia’s defeat and Azerbaijan’s victory meant for both Turkey and Russia, evidence has shown that Iran is the biggest loser in this conflict.
Iran is facing an ongoing economic crisis since the US withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018 and imposed comprehensive sanctions as part of the "maximum pressure" campaign targeting all key sectors of the Iranian economy. During the first five months of the current Iranian year (April-August 2020), the crisis was exacerbated by other influences, most notably the spread of the coronavirus which led to heavy losses at the economic level, making this the worst period in terms of economic performance over the past four decades of the Revolution’s lifetime.
Given the experience of the Iranian social and political behaviour during the past decades, it could be asserted that the current Iranian economic crisis will have repercussions and implications at the social mobility level and the activities of official political trends and their relations. This would bring about change in the political trends in the coming period, both internally and externally. The crisis situation has led to a successive wave of collapses, namely a decline in the important indicators and a rise in poverty rates to record levels. This heralds undesirable repercussions at the social and political level, and opens the way to several scenarios, some of which have been proven to occur in recent years, under similar circumstances.
Iran’s northwestern border has been witnessing a fierce war between its two neighbours Armenia and Azerbaijan. The spillover of the war seems to have affected the Iranian territories. Artillery shells are reported to have fallen on Iranian villages in the East Azerbaijan and Ardabil provinces, which are inhabited by the Azeri community in Iran. In addition, the Iranian air defense system has responded to a drone that crossed the Iranian borders. This prompted Iran to express a strong-language objection to both parties to the conflict, stressing that "encroachment on the Iranian borders is a red line". In terms of rhetoric and political positions, Iran considers that the conflict is taking place in the area right outside its borders where it has played a clear role during the past years, and on which it has relied to withstand US sanctions, despite the limited Iranian role in this region in particular, considering that Russia is against any attempts at carrying out any activities therein. Moscow considers the region a traditional sphere of its influence.
Inflation is one of the main indicators for measuring the performance of the Iranian economy. Monthly inflation rates refer to the change in the price of goods within one month. There is a slow criterion which is the total inflation within 12 months, which is an indicator of the annual performance, and the deep trend of the economic performance. The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) announced that it plans to limit annual inflation at 22 percent (with a margin of increase or decrease of nearly two percentage points), after it had reached the level of 41.2 percent in 2019, setting one of two records over the past four decades. This paper discusses inflation scenarios in Iran, in both its monthly and annual versions, over the remaining five months of the current Iranian fiscal year, in view of several influences, including the outcome of the US elections and internal developments.
The Trump administration’s current policy on Iran has largely been a lost opportunity, as US sanctions against the country have failed to force Tehran into submission. The next US administration will therefore need to re‑assess its options. This paper discusses the potential future pathways of the Iranian question in light of the US elections in November 2020 and with regard to Tehran’s relations with the USA and the regional and international communities.
Our neighbor, Iran, is currently experiencing significant social turmoil in the face of escalating economic challenges and political crises – largely manifested in the form of ongoing public protests.
On December 28, 2017, massive popular protests erupted in the Islamic Republic of Iran, starting in Mashhad before engulfing more than eighty cities and towns across the country.
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