By Mahmoud Hakamian
The Iranian Regime is in a crisis following the US decision to end sanctions waivers for the eight countries buying Iranian oil from May 2 and it appears their plan of waiting until Donald Trump left office is less workable by the day.
While the reimposition of sanctions last year, following Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, damaged the economy, the end of these waivers will cripple it.
After all, disastrous economic problems that predate the sanctions have caused domestic unrest and led to the nationwide anti-regime uprising in December 2017 – an uprising that’s still going on – and the Regime fears that any additional pressure could lead to a revolt and the end of the regime.
These sanctions, which caused the Regime to come to the negotiating table in 2015, are eroding Iran’s resources and helping to stop the Regime spending so much money on support for terrorism, interference in neighbouring countries, and domestic repression. To be clear, Iran pays its proxy militias, like Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis, in US dollars and can’t get enough because of sanctions.
US special representative to Iran Brian Hook recently said: “We had very good meetings with both of the Saudis and the Emiratis, and they share a lot of our national security goals with respect to Iran. So it’s in our interest and it’s in their interest to deny the Iranian regime the revenue it needs to fund its foreign policy.”
Iran regime threated, in response to the removal of waivers, to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz waterway, while firebrand General Hossein Salami was appointed as head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), in response to the US designation of the IRGC as a terror group. But Iran cannot close the waterway or it would be subject to military intervention by the US. Iran doesn’t have the military power to fight the US, let alone its allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel as well.
The only choice the Iranian regime has is to give into the US’s list of 12 demands, end its malign behaviour, and put its money and its effort into improving the lives of the Iranian people. However, as nice as that sounds, it will not happen. The Regime is incapable of reform and the only answer is for the people and their resistance to overthrow the mullahs.
The Regime must choose between starting a war it will not win and promising concessions it will never follow through with. The Regime will be over soon.