While Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani had previously promised that by entering the JCPOA (2015 Iran nuclear deal) with world powers, his government would make “so much economic prosperity that people would not need the 45,000 tomans subsidies at all”, after eight years in office, his so-called rival faction that backs Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei announced that “the outcome of the JCPOA are long queues for chicken and oil.”
After the end of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency, when Khamenei found out that he cannot continue his aggressive policy with the international community, he brought Hassan Rouhani to power as a so-called moderate to continue his rule with the “heroic flexibility”. Khamenei later confessed this policy started by his direct order with the help of one of the “respected people of the region”, which was the Omani’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
But at that time, he could not reveal his own role in the negotiations with the US, fearing the defection in the ranks of his regime, especially because at that time he had removed former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani from the power circle with the help of the Guardian Council.
But behind the curtain, Rouhani’s role was not to create an economic boom, but to advance negotiations for the government and maintain the regime’s rule under the shadow of a threat of war by world powers. And the question here raised is why was this the main policy of Rouhani?
Because Rouhani was proud to deceive Europeans in negotiations before, as the head of the National Security Council of the Government, and once he said, “while we negotiated with them, we continued the enrichment” so he could probably defraud the West for a second time.
The result of this policy was the JCPOA. Rouhani claimed the solution to all the country’s problems was linked to the JCPOA. But after six years, the only result for the Iranian people from the JCPOA was nothing more than more poverty and misery. Dissidents say not even a cent of the money freed under the JCPOA was used for the people.
The regime to clear its budget deficit was forced to hike the prices of fuel which led to the 2019–2020 Iranian protests also known as Bloody November. Those were a series of nationwide civil protests, initially caused by a 50–200 percent increase in fuel prices, leading to calls for the overthrow of the government in Iran and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Now Khamenei’s faction, which celebrated the negotiations and the JCPOA, once as one of Khamenei’s ‘miracles’, are attacking their self-made government for the negotiations, while they themselves are the main culprits of this situation.
Mohammad Nabavian, an MP, on March 25, 2021 pointed to the presence of one of the ministers that, when he questioned him, “why people should stand for oil and chicken in the queue” he answered, that the “monthly oil consumption in the country is 350,000 tons, and we have injected 170,000 more than the people’s requirements into the market.” Nabavian added: “The outcome of the JCPOA are long queues for chicken and oil.”
Problems are not related to sanctions
Nabavian, quoting Rouhani’s Program and Budget deputy, who announced the increase in oil exports and gas condensate at the peak of the sanctions at 350 percent adding $400 million to the government’s revenue from gasoline exports. Nevertheless, “From the 80 million Iranians, 60 million receive livelihood subsidies.”
Nabavian also claimed more than 70 percent of the country’s problems are caused by “weakness, corruption and disability in the administration of the country”. This is true, but incomplete, because the country’s economic problems cannot be explained only for the period of Rouhani’s presidency. In which of the regime’s governments, was the economy and livelihood of the Iranian people booming?
Nabavian also stated that “80 percent of the power, money and management of the country” are attributed to the president. This is false because in recent years, many within the government explicitly state that more than 60 percent of Iran’s economy is in the hands of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and Khamenei, and the IRGC is the foremost and unrivaled military power in this regime.
Nabavian also pointed to the subject that Rouhani and his foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have promised that, “87.5 percent of the sanctions” should remain. This is also true, but incomplete, because he did not mention the fact that Khamenei has the last word on the JCPOA and its negotiations.
The JCPOA has started and continued with the order and confirmation of Khamenei. Now why are elements of Khamenei’s faction attacking Rouhani? The answer is very simple. The upcoming presidential election and Khamenei’s decision to unify the rule in his own favor.