While many in Europe and the US are focused on the Impeachment hearings and other battles taking place in Washington DC, the situation on Iran is one of regional fear. Iran is now stepping into a new world that puts it face-to-face with the US and Saudi Arabia on many levels. There are growing protests in Iran as food and services are scarce and drivers on highways are even getting out and stopping traffic to protest the Islamic Republic and its leaders. The Iranian regime is now holding its breath and hoping for a Democrat win in 2020 – these leaders in Tehran do not want a second term of Trump. The current leadership is now opening saying on TV that they will crush protests. And with the current rocketing inflation and the inability to sell oil freely on world markets, Iran is now looking at the US as the great Satan. The US is now encouraging – it is said – demonstrations across the region.
There have been between 120 and 200 deaths across 21 towns and cities in Iran, food and energy are top on the list of things that people want and need. US officials want Iran to stop its aggressive expansion in the Middle East. US officials believe that Iran has spent $16 billion since 2013 in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen while spending a whopping $10 billion in Syria. And it spends or invests $700 million a year on Hezbollah. Estimates are $25 billion of the $39 billion budget is covered by oil exports and with a shrinking economy – by 9.5% this year – and high inflation of 35%, the leadership is in a challenging place. There are signs that the economy is surely under stress and the streets are seeing protest each day – this will surely turn out bad for the religious leaders who demand best behavior from the public.
Iran might be pushed into a conflict with the US or Saudi Arabia.