Bankrupt Iran

It has long been known that the Iranian regime under the rule of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei supports terrorism and exports violence, bloodshed and chaos.

January 15, 2019 23:45
4 minute read.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with people of Qom, in Teheran, Iran.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with people of Qom, in Teheran, Iran, January 9, 2019.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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It has long been known that the Iranian regime under the rule of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei supports terrorism and exports violence, bloodshed and chaos. The frenzied mix is a toxic poison combining apocalyptic fanaticism with terrorism. In September 2010, this writer arranged the Fox News Channel’s first and only interview with then-Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in New York City with the assistance of Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Just before the interview, all Iranian politicians were asked to leave the room as Iranian mullahs entered. They sat side by side in a line of chairs facing Ahmadinejad and, I suppose, prayed to the Mahdi, who they believe is the last descendant of Mohammad and will one day dominate a world under an Islamic caliphate, entreating the Mahdi to empower their leader.

In meeting with Iranian ministers at their hotels for four years during UN gatherings, I had noticed that the mullahs and their wives always shopped at high-end department stores. In my last meeting with the ministers, I observed that because of pressure from the US sanctions against Iran, their purchases, contained in cardboard boxes from various hardware stores, were filled with items unavailable in Iran. Yet Iran’s leaders were not shy in declaring that sanctions would not deter them from continuing with their goals for developing nuclear fusion.

During his tenure and under stiff sanctions by the West, Ahmadinejad proceeded to increase Iran’s interest rate to 21%, causing the populace of his country to become increasingly worried about the economy and the toll on future income. The sanctions imposed by world leaders had an effect – although Ahmadinejad denied the squeeze, and Iranians were instructed to buy dollars only when traveling.

Hoarding of US currency became de rigueur in aristocratic circles in the country. It was the currency to covet, but it soon required government permission to purchase dollars. The sanctions seriously worsened the value of the Iranian rial. One anonymous Iranian politician averred that the economy was the worst since the Iran/Iraq war.

The countries that joined forces to impose sanctions on Iran did so in hopes of restricting the amount of currency available to purchase the materials and expertise needed to continue its nuclear pursuits. The weaker rial triggered a run on gold and foreign currency and further exacerbated the problem as Iranians withdrew savings in order to make their purchases.

With the imposition of new sanctions by the US, it could be that we will see a repeat of the tactics used to overthrow the Shah of Iran in 1979. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini engineered the overthrow of the shah with oil-related strikes. He took full advantage of the media for his purposes. The Ayatollah began to urge the workers in Iran – from oil workers to garbage haulers – to go on strike. Students were encouraged to riot in support of the working class. The strikes proved to be very effective at creating dissention. The strikes spread from the Tehran oil refinery to the oil refineries at Isfahan, Abadan, Tabriz and Sharaz. In one week, oil production fell by three million barrels.

Should the Iranian people again employ that strategy against their government, blood might well flow in the streets of the villages, towns, and cities of that country. When the people revolted following Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election in 2009, President Barack Obama did nothing to help them defend themselves against reprisals. They would, I imagine, be very reluctant to try a second time unless the US rallies behind them and the Western press is supportive. If that does not happen, then there is little chance of a successful revolution in Iran.

One of President Donald Trump’s initial objectives was to reverse the Obama nuclear deal with Iran. During his campaign, Trump called the Iranian deal the worst ever, and from his first day on the job, he would be determined to ascertain that Iran was in total conformity with all Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) requirements. In hindsight, he should have immediately demanded transparency and accountability regarding any and all agreements made between Iran and the Obama administration. Mr. Trump needed to be certain that all ambiguities regarding site inspections, enrichment levels, and other issues were addressed and rectified.

Even with the sanctions in place, the question must be asked: What do China, India, Korea, Turkey, Italy, Japan, the UAE, Spain, France and Greece all have in common? In descending order, each country purchases crude and condensate from Iran. President Trump needs to inform these 10 countries that if they do business with Iran, the US will no longer do business with them. Within 90 days, it is highly likely that Iran would be bankrupt, and the Iranian people would be moved to overthrow the Khamenei regime as they did with the shah.

The writer is a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author with 89 published books. He is the founder of Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem of which the late President Shimon Peres, Israel’s ninth president, was the chair. He also serves on the Trump Evangelical Faith Initiative.

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