The World Today for August 05, 2022

NEED TO KNOW

Same Old, Same Old

IRAN

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, a conservative former judge, won office a year ago promising change. But the same old problems continue to bedevil the country.

The collapse of a luxury building in the southwest city of Abadan in May, a controversy involving an unfulfilled public grain importing contract, and a minister accused of nepotism are souring many Iranians against Raisi’s rule. “Mister President, does this corruption with this large volume eventually have an end point or no?” lawmaker Seyed Morteza Hosseini asked in parliament recently, the Washington Post reported.

Plunging faith in public officials might be one reason that some Iranian women are organizing protests against laws compelling them to wear hijabs (Islamic head coverings) in public, Radio Free Europe wrote. Since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 inaugurated an ultra-orthodox government in the country, females aged nine and older are required to don hijabs in public. Many women flout the rule, however.

Still, videos on social media showed so-called ‘morality police’ beating women who had taken off their hijabs. As Al Jazeera explained, many Iranians have grown increasingly angry at the heavy-handed response, leading to officials reprimanding police.

But according to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei it is the West that is to blame for stoking such protests, saying that American and British media had deployed propaganda to lead Iranians away from their faith, Reuters noted.

Khamenei recently also accused Israel of planning an attack against a defense plant in Isfahan, the same city where Iran is now building a new nuclear research reactor that critics warn could produce nuclear weapons in the future, as the Jerusalem Post reported.

That construction could be moving forward because reviving the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran is unlikely, Axios wrote. Former US President Barack Obama, China, Russia, and various European powers negotiated the deal under which Iran agreed to reverse its nuclear program in exchange for international sanctions being lifted. But President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the arrangement. Now, President Joe Biden is trying to resuscitate it. The Council on Foreign Relations featured this excellent rundown of the often poor relations between Iran and the West since the Iranian revolution, and why that is so.

Europeans who sought to maintain the deal recently said Iran won’t get a better opportunity to reduce the chances of a nuclear conflict that could destroy the country, especially if it fires a nuclear warhead at Israel, the Associated Press added.

Writing in Foreign Policy, Ellie Geranmayeh, a fellow of the European Council on Foreign Relations, and Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, founder of the Bourse & Bazaar Foundation predicted that Iran would only become more isolated, more economically vulnerable and more geopolitically cornered if Khamenei and Raisi didn’t accept a deal soon.

Wherein the old problems will not only likely persist, they’ll probably get worse.

And some officials believe that Iranians angry about poverty, corruption and restrictions on their daily lives may increasingly fail to blame the Western Boogeyman and instead turn their rage on their leaders. The powers that be would do anything to stop that.

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