Iran in Crisis: The Triple Threat of Pandemic, Sanctions and ConflictAn Altamar podcast interview with 地质经济学和战略高级研究员在Carnegie捐赠国际和平
Iran’s religious regime is facing enormous challenges. The nation has been struck by one of the world’s most severe outbreaks of COVID-19, killing thousands of its citizens — including prominent parliamentarians and government officials. Under the weight of severe economic sanctions, unemployment is growing, inflation is rising andGDPfaces a 6% contraction. At the start of this year, aU.S. airstrike killed伊朗最具影响力的军事指挥官Qasem Soleimani。
Yet, the Iranian regime has proven remarkably durable, continuing to wield regional power and even pursue its nuclear program.
To help understand where Iran is headed, theAltamarPodcast Cred of Peter Schechter和Muni Jensen谈到了Jarrett Blanc, senior fellow in Geoeconomics and Strategy at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Previously, Blanc was the State Department’s lead for Iran nuclear implementation under President Obama, including the联合综合行动计划(JCPOA). An expert on conflict termination and political transitions, Blanc has also served as the acting special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
But Blanc warns against pigeonholing Iranian politics into a Shia-Sunni schism: Iran “has got some partnerships with Sunni actors in Afghanistan. You’ve got Shia actors in Iraq, some of whom are more or less aligned with Iran’s interests. So, I don’t think it’s a totally straightforward Sunni-Shia split.”
Blanc says the Arab states are not interested in ramping up tensions: “The Emiratis and, to a lesser extent, the Saudis, have been looking for ways to backchannel and reach out to Iran. … I don’t think that people in the region are looking for a new Sunni-Shia cold war. Certainly not a hot war.”
However, Iran’s role as a Middle East powerbroker hasn’t translated into public support at home. As Blanc explains, “They’ve played the game pretty well. But in a broader sense, you’re talking about a country that should be rich, happy and globally connected. And it’s none of those things.”
Indeed, the Iranian government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis was slow and the subsequent lack of transparency has enraged many of its citizens. Iran has sufferedmore than 5,000deaths from the coronavirus, with satellite photos showing Iranian authorities digging mass graves for victims of the pandemic.
伊朗议会reportreleased in mid-April revealed that the nation’s death toll from coronavirus was double the figures previously acknowledged, and the country’s infection rate could be eight to 10 times higher than what the government has confirmed.
Blanc explains that Iran narrowly focuses on national security while missing the mark on supporting its people.
In January this year, the death of military commander Qasem Soleimani by a U.S. airstrike饱和世界各地的媒体网点。但随着Blanc的指出，“伊朗是一种具有现代军事官僚机构的现代状态。通过所有账户，Soleimani是该官僚机构的有效领导者，可能有点不太有效，有点效率较低，没有他。但它并不像是这是一个崇拜的个性，在那里你拿出个性，结构消失了。下一个人接管了。我们不应该，我不认为，期待巨大的有效性退化，结果是一项大规模的政策变化。“
而且，伊朗的nuclear program自2018年美国政府从JCPOA退出并恢复了经济制裁以来一直持续。另一方面，欧洲延长了伊朗未能遵守核对核计划的时间限制后延长了新制裁的截止日期 - 基本上与俄罗斯和中国寻找恢复核交易的方法。
Blanc explains US-Iran dynamics in the context of Iran’s nuclear program.
National Survival Is On the Line
Iranian pocketbooks are feeling the pain. According to Blanc, “In a very, very tactical sense, the [sanctions] program has achieved its goals. … It has put Iran under tremendous economic pressure — negative 10% economic growth last year, they’ve got high unemployment, inflation has gone back up.” The coronavirus pandemic now threatens to further weaken an already limping economy.