So what’s goin’ on in Iran? How did the Islamic Republic really respond to Covid-19? How is it handling Washington’s ruthless “maximum pressure”?
These concerns were the subject of a long telephone call I placed to Prof. Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran– one of Iran’s premier, worldwide acknowledged experts.
As Marandi discusses:
” Iran after the revolution was all about social justice. Iran is now producing whatever it requires, tests, face masks.
Expanding Marandi’s observations, Tehran-based reporter Alireza Hashemi notes, ” Iran’s wide main health care system, comprising public clinics, health houses and university hospital is available in thousands of cities and towns”, and that allowed the government to “quickly offer fundamental services”.
As Hashemi details, “the Health Ministry developed a Covid-19 call center and also distributed protective devices supplied by relief companies. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei bought the militaries to help– with the federal government deploying 300,000 soldiers and volunteers to disinfect streets and public places, distribute sanitizers and masks and perform tests.”
It was the Iranian armed force that developed assembly line for producing face masks and other devices. According to Hashemi, “some NGOs partnered with Tehran’s chamber of commerce to create a project called Nafas (” breath”) to provide medical goods and supply scientific services. Iran’s Farabourse, a non-prescription stock exchange in Tehran, established a crowd financing project to acquire medical devices and products to help health employees. Hundreds of volunteer groups– called “jihadi”– started producing personal protective equipment that had been in short supply in academies, mosques and hussainiyas and even natural fruit juices for health employees.”
This sense of social uniformity is incredibly powerful in Shi’ite culture.
Marandi stresses the economy, predictably, was hurt:
” But since of the sanctions, the majority of the hurt had currently occurred. The economy is now running without oil revenue. In Tehran, you don’t even notice it. It’s absolutely nothing compared to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey or the UAE. Employees from Pakistan and India are leaving the Persian Gulf in droves. Dubai is dead. So, in comparison, Iran did much better in handling the virus. Furthermore, harvests in 2015 and this year have actually been favorable. We are more self-reliant.”
Hashemi adds a really important factor:
” The Covid-19 crisis was so massive that people themselves have actually pitched in with effort, exposing brand-new levels of solidarity. People, civil society groups and others have actually set up a range of efforts looking for to help the government and health workers on the cutting edge of countering the pandemic.”
What an unrelenting Western disinformation project always ignores is how Iran after the revolution is utilized to very important situations, starting with the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq war in the 1980 s. Marandi and Hashemi are adamant: for older Iranians, the current recession pales in comparison with what they had to bear with throughout the 1980 s.
Made in Iran skyrockets
Marandi’s analysis bind the financial data. In early June, Mohammad Bagher Nobakht– accountable for preparing Iran’s state budget plans– told the Majlis (Parliament) that the brand-new typical was “to sideline oil in the economy and run the country’s programs without oil.”
Nobakht adhered to the numbers. Iran had made just $8.9 billion from the sale of oil and related items in 2019-20, below a peak of $119 billion less than a decade ago.
The entire Iranian economy is in shift What’s particularly intriguing is the boom in production– with companies focusing method beyond Iran’s large domestic market towards exports. They are turning the massive devaluation of the rial to their benefit.
In 2019-20, Iran’s non-oil exports reached $413 billion. That surpassed oil exports for the very first time in Iran’s post-revolutionary history. And roughly half of these non-oil exports were manufactured goods Group Trump’s “optimal pressure” by means of sanctions may have led to overall non-oil exports decreasing– however just by 7%. The overall stays near historical highs.
According to Buying Managers’ Index (PMI) data published by the Iran Chamber of Commerce, private sector manufacturers were seriously back in service currently in the first month following the relaxation of the partial lockdown.
The reality is Iranian consumer goods and industrial items– everything from cookies to stainless-steel– are exported by small and medium business to the broader Middle East and likewise to Central Asia, China and Russia. The misconception of Iranian “seclusion” is, well, a myth.
Some brand-new production clusters bode well for the future.
Iran features in the Leading 15 of mineral-rich countries. In January, after getting the technology for deep-level mining, Tehran released a pilot job for extraction of rare earth minerals.
Still, Washington pressure remains as relentless as the Terminator.
In January, the White House provided yet another executive order targeting the “building, mining, production, or fabrics sectors of the Iranian economy.” Group Trump is targeting exactly the booming private sector– which indicates, in practice, many Iranian blue-collar employees and their households. This has nothing to do with forcing the Rouhani administration to state, “I can’t breathe”.
The Venezuelan front
Apart from a couple of scuffles in between the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Health Ministry about China’s response to Covid-19, the Iran-China “comprehensive strategic partnership” (CSP) stays on track.
The next big test is really in September.
Hence it has no right to extend the arms embargo or go for the snapback system against Iran.
China, Russia and Iran are the three essential nodes of Eurasia integration.
Lavrov stated, ” We will be doing everything so that no one can damage these contracts. Washington has no right to penalize Iran.”
Zarif for his part explained the whole juncture as “very harmful”.
Extra conversations with Iranian experts reveal how they interpret the local geopolitical chessboard, adjusting the importance of the axis of resistance (Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, Hezbollah) in contrast with two other fronts: the US and its “stooges” (your home of Saud, UAE, Egypt), the master– Israel– and also Turkey and Qatar, which, like Iran, however unlike the “stooges”, prefer political Islam (but of the Sunni variety, that is, the Moslem Brotherhood).
One of these analysts, pen name Blake Archer Williams, considerably remarks, “the main reason Russia keeps back from helping Iran (shared trade is practically at no) is that it fears Iran. If Trump does not have a Reagan minute and does not prevail on Iran, and the US remains in any event eliminated of the Middle East by the continuing procedure of Iran’s weapons parity and its ability to project power in its own pond, then all of the oil of the Middle East, from the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, to Iraq, obviously, and not least to the oilfields in Saudi Arabia’s Qatif area (where all the oil is and is 100% Shi’ite), will come under the umbrella of the axis of resistance.”
Still, Russia-China continue to back Iran on all fronts, for instance rebuking the International Atomic Energy Company (IAEA) for giving in to United States “bullying”– as the IAEA’s board last week passed a resolution sent by France, Britain and Germany slamming Iran for the first time because 2012.
Another key diplomacy front is Venezuela. Tehran’s soft power, in rather a spectacular manner keenly observed all throughout the Global South, de facto mocked Washington’s sanctions/blockade in its own Monroe Teaching “backyard”, when five Iranian tankers loaded with gasoline successfully crossed the Atlantic and were gotten by a Venezuelan military escort of jets, helicopters, and naval patrols.
That will likewise help Iran to offload its substantial domestically produced fuel.
The historic initial delivery was defined by both sides as part of a clinical and industrial cooperation, side by side with a “solidarity action”.
And then, this previous week, I lastly confirmed it. The order came directly from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. In his own words: “The blockade needs to be broken”. The rest is– Global South– history in the making.
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