After that events, disasters such as devastating earthquakes, landslides, and floods across Iran due to the deliberate negligence of the Iranian regime, claimed the lives of hundreds of Iranian people and inflicted heavy financial losses on the deprived Iranians.
The regime tried to speak with the world with blackmail as well as terror operations in the face of global sanctions and isolation. In the aftermath of tough oil sanctions, the regime attacked oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and a missile launch on the Saudi Aramco, and to support its proxy groups in Iraq in particular so that it could find a way out of its crises.
But since, unlike in the past, the world politics, especially the US, have moved away from appeasement and allowing to be extorted, the US has increased its sanctions against the regime and imposed more severe sanctions, and in the most serious step killed Qassem Soleimani. Later, the regime’s name was again blacklisted by the FATF due to the failure to ratify the parliamentary bills of the FATF.
Now, the regime’s latest achievement for the Iranian people is to bring the terrible coronavirus into the homeland and destroy the fate of millions of Iranians.
1. Start of 2019 with devastating floods
In 2019, there were 138 floods in the country, two of which were devastating floods in the last 40 years, causing enormous damage on its way, destroyed many homes and killed many. According to Majlis Research Center statistics, more than 35 trillion tomans were damaged caused by the floods, but Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the flood was a ‘divine blessing.’
The shocking scenes where people went on the roof of their homes with no helpers to save them from death remain in our minds. That how much of the damage was compensated by the government is unclear, independent statistics from NGOs are not available and that of the government is not clear and not reliable, but it was found that unpaved roads or railroads were largely unmanageable.
And it was clear that the main cause of the devastating floods mainly in the north of Iran were the building roads and railways in an empirical and unnecessary way, which were built mostly by the IRGC’s Khatam base on the watercourse of the rivers. An example of this is the railway in the Golestan province which cause a flood in Agh Gola city.
“The authorities said the death toll from the floods in Iran has left 57 deaths and 478 wounded,” Anatolia news agency reported on 3 April 2019.
But with all the damage to the people’s lives, the regime wanted the people not to be saddened by the loss of their loved ones and their lives in the flood and to be ‘grateful to God.’
Radio France reported on April 21 that first vice president Eshaq Jahangiri had blessed the floods and rains in the country, which he said would also benefit the country and that they should be ‘thankful to God.’
2. The end of the regime’s six-month oil exemption, tightening of sanctions and blacklisting of the IRGC
With the end of the six-month oil exemption granted by the United States to several international oil customers in the wake of the regime’s oil sanctions, the regime was cut off from its biggest source of revenue. The resulting loss of this revenue disrupted the entire budget structure, and the regime was forced to revise its budget once again in May 2019.
The regime, which called itself the mastermind of circumventing sanctions, publicly declared that it was selling its oil by smuggling and Bijan Namdar Zangeneh regime’s minister of Petroleum refused to provide statistics on oil sales.
But after a while, by the tracking of companies like KPLER, it became clear that the regime’s sales of smuggled oil were no more than 300000 barrels a day.
“According to the KPLER Energy Intelligence and Tracking Company statistics, oil exports have fallen to about 300000 barrels in the past three months.” (DW website, 15 January 2020)
“The revision of the government intervention program has reduced the volume of oil exports from 1.5 million barrels per day to 300000 barrels per day to reduce the budget deficit to 150 trillion tomans.” (Jahan Sanat, 24 September 2019)
The main customers of the regime’s oil were China, or oil speculators in Asia, who also bought the regime’s oil for much lower prices than the market price. The economic downturn from falling oil prices in the past few weeks has had another crippling blow to the regime’s revenues.
‘It was one of the worst meetings I’ve had in the history of OPEC,’ Zangeneh said of Saudi Arabia and Russia’s disagreement over holding oil production down, which eventually led to a fall in oil prices. (State TV news channel, 7 March 2020)
The price of oil is still falling and Brent oil, which is usually worth several dollars more than OPEC oil, has reached $26.
Petrochemicals, one of the most important sources of revenue for Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, were also sanctioned, and this was another hard blow to the regime.
Also, the presence of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) on the US blacklist alongside the heavy sanctions was another blow that the regime received in 2019.
3. Gasoline price hike and the November uprising
Perhaps the most important economic-political change of 2019 in Iran was the removal of subsidies from the price of gasoline and the price increase by 300 percent without prior notice.
The regime, after the loss of the oil market and the removal of US oil exemptions, was in dire need of another source of income, decide to remove the subsidies on gasoline and other energy carriers.
Farhad Dejpasand minister of economic affairs and finance told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with entrepreneurs: “With national resources wasted through energy subsidies, we are on the verge of finalizing a gas quota bill. These depressing short remarks have made people and the media more likely to have gasoline quotas coming soon.” (Vatan Emrooz, 4 May 2019)
“Iran is currently under certain conditions in every respect, said Mehdi Sharifi Nik Nafas, CEO of Petrochemical Trading Company. The issue of gasoline quotas and fuel price changes should also be analyzed in the context of these conditions.” (Iran Daily, 6 May 2019)
The tightening of sanctions and economic stifle has pushed the mullahs to act even after prolonged rumors and raise the price of gasoline on 15 November 2019. This sudden rise in gas prices, without prior notice, sparked a mass uprising.
This fiery uprising in a matter of days caused trouble for the mullahs by burning down fuel stations and banks and regime’s official buildings. However, Khamenei suppressed the uprising with the help of the Basijis and plainclothes agents, with the fear that the regime will be overthrown, and it became clear that the people would take to the streets whenever they could. The regime killed more than 1500 people. It also cut off the Internet to hide the truth and the dimensions of the unrest.
4. The uprising in Iraq and Lebanon
The uprising of the Lebanese and Iraqi’s people despite the Iranian regime’s continued interference shook the mullahs in the so-called strategic depth of their regime.
Khamenei, who had been held captive for years the Iraqi people by Qassem Soleimani and the terrorist IRGC Quds Force organization and by the rule of his proxy groups in Iraq, was shaken by the heroic uprising of the Iraqi people so far that not only all his projects to bring his favorite government to power in Iraq has failed, but at the center of the demands of Iraqi insurgents is to expel the Iranian regime from Iraq and overthrow the integrity of the corrupt and unrestrained Iraqi system.
The uprising of the Lebanese people against the sovereignty dominated by Hezbollah is another aspect of the regime’s defeat at the strategic depth that it faced in 2019.
To be continued