One, out of three scenarios, is expected for the fate of the Iranian regime following the American sanctions, all of which are fluctuating between weakening it and its complete overthrown. The first scenario suggests that the regime might fall through the outbreak of a popular revolution backed by political, military and security leaders who started to reveal their resentment and rejection of the policies of the Wali al-Faqih. The main features of this scenario are:
First, poverty rates have reach more than 70% with inflation is more than 20% and unemployment rates are on the rise which may reach 40% in the next few months.
Second, the increased restriction and crackdowns by the Revolutionary Guard and its security apparatuses against citizens, especially political and human rights activists, and the leak of a number of security reports that confirm that Iran is on the verge of a major revolution could overthrow the regime.
Third, the Revolutionary Guard’s storing of more than 40 billion dollars in several airports, including Bam’s and Khomeini’s airports as a precaution to smuggle them if a revolution took place and the regime fell.
Fourth, the new high level of boldness and courage by the Iranian citizens, the collapse of the fear barrier and raising slogans against the regime, most notably “death to Khamenei” and “death to Rouhani”.
Fifth, the increased divisions, the widening dissension and the overlap of powers and functions among the regime’s institutions and figures, which might be the most dangerous among all. This also can indicate to the beginning of a popular and political group against the regime and the Revolutionary Guard, that includes grassroots as well as many political, military and security figures.
The second scenario is that Iran might ignite a regional war by the Revolutionary Guard in order to obfuscate the issues and threaten maritime and air navigation by pushing terrorist groups in the region, the Houthis and the sectarian militias in Iraq and Hezbollah in Lebanon, to carry out terrorist operations in the sea, air and land in areas far from Iran, mainly Bab al-Mandab. The main features of this scenario are:
First, the threats of the Iranian leaders, led by Khamenei, Rouhani, Jafari and Qassemi to block the export of oil from the region if Iran’s oil exports were stop, meaning that there are Iranian intentions and readiness for such a scenario.
Second, there are reports that the Revolutionary Guard has established military bases and weapons warehouses for missiles and bombs in Iraqi, Syrian and Yemeni territories and that Tehran has transferred ballistic missiles to those bases and warehouses, with the aim of using them in case Iran decided to ignite a regional war.
Third, Iran’s eagerness to supply the Houthis with missiles and drones, through which it can carry out terrorist operations against maritime navigation in Bab al-Mandab.
The third scenario is preparing the Iranian interior and formulating the external relations as well as adapting to sanctions as long as possible, while continuing to open secret channels with the United States or waiting until Trump’s term ends and someone else replaces him who would make a deal that can evade the regime from falling. The main features of this scenario are:
First, intensifying Iranian official visits to some countries that oppose US policies in order to conclude deals with them, to gain their positions and encouraging them to maintain economic and trade relations.
Second, the statements of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who said that there will be no war nor negotiations with the United States.
Third, the regime’s propaganda which aims to promote the idea that the country’s crises are because of the mismanagement of Rouhani’s government and not because of any sanctions, and that through the development of programs and plans and fighting corruption, Iran will pass the crisis.
Fourth, tightening the security control and applying an iron fist by the security authorities on the Iranian peoples, and escalating the readiness of the security services to deal with any movement or protest through intimidation, arrest and repression.
Al Mezmaah Studies & Research Centre
9 September 2018