Doctor Time LMT – iranologist, researcher of the Institute for strategic studies – about the situation with the Iranian economy after the «nuclear deal», Tehran’s support for terrorist organizations and the goals of the Iranian leadership.
How do You assess the economic situation in Iran after signing an agreement on nuclear settlement?
If we talk about the economy, and this is the most important aspect of the agreement of Iran with the major powers of the world, the agreement, designed to open Iran to foreign investment and to improve the situation in the country, the picture was mixed. It is possible to note the improvement in the economic situation after the signing of the agreement, state revenues from the sale of oil abroad increased dramatically, in addition, was signed a few large deals, including with the Boeing company European airlines and French energy company Total, which, of course, opened the flow of foreign investment in Iran.
However, despite economic growth of 4%, it should be noted that most European companies are not yet ready to enter the Iranian market. Europeans are worried, among other things, the American reaction, because the Iranian economy is still suffering from internal problems, corruption and excessive influence and interference of the Islamic revolutionary guard Corps.
It is true to say that despite some improvement in the Iranian economy, major changes and yet the lives of ordinary citizens until it was better.
As for the military level and the ability of Iran to influence the situation in the region, the direct effect of the agreement here is even less noticeable, and the ability of Iran to influence others has far more to do with changes in neighbouring countries.
After signing the agreement on ceasefire in Syria, Iran has the opportunity to strengthen their positions in the Golan. Is that a correct statement?
This is not entirely accurate. It is important to understand that the main activity of Iran in Syria is a direct, expressed in the presence of about a thousand fighters, mostly from among the fighters of the IRGC and indirect, so-called «messengers» Iran: Hezbollah, the Shiite militia of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq – is much more in the South of Syria and on the Golan. The agreement on a cease-fire in southern Syria is intended to push Iran and Hizbullah from the area of the Golan. By the way, all attempts to gain a foothold in the area of the Syrian Golan with the aim of creating protivoaritmicheskih positions, was foiled IDF, but in other parts of Syria Pro-Iranian formation feel free enough. Iran has invested enormous money and effort to save the Assad regime, and it will be difficult to displace from the country, especially while Russia and Iran equally imagine the future of Syria.
What are the main tasks, the implementation of which Iran is seeking in Syria?
First, it wants to strengthen its influence for the preservation of the Assad regime. Today, it seems less problematic than previously. For this, Iran went to Syria and encouraged the deployment of Russian troops. Assad is the best and seems to be the only ally of Iran in the Arab world. Another goal is the continued assistance «to Hezbollah». To do this, Iran needs Syria. Hezbollah is for Iran great value, especially for a possible future confrontation with Israel. At the official level Iran says it is acting against terrorists in Syria, primarily against the «Islamic state», but this should be treated with skepticism, as we know that the main activity of Iran in Syria is not directed against IG, but against the rebels.
Can we say that Iran is trying to create a Shiite axis in the region, the continuity of the territories controlled by the Shiites?
You need to make a clear distinction between intentions and capabilities. Of course, Iran would like to consolidate its influence everywhere. He uses every opportunity and every weakness of the Arab countries, regional chaos, etc. Iran uses vehicles to enhance its influence, accordingly, he has a clear interest to create a permanent Shiite «belt» from Iran, through Iraq and Syria, and to Lebanon, which will allow much easier to transport weapons and to strengthen its economic influence in the region. The problem is that Iran does not act directly, not conquer territory, is not sending his troops (with the exception of Syria) to other countries. This is problematic because intermediaries do not always want the same thing and Iran. In addition, in this region of Iran is not the only factor of influence. To create this axis requires the assistance of Iraq, where Iran has some influence, especially among the Shiite militias, but there are other forces, for example, the Kurds, Turkey, the Americans, even within the Shiite community, there are other factors of influence and disagreement. The same thing is happening in Syria. On the one hand, the Iranians encouraged the deployment of Russian troops, but Russia’s intervention she became there the dominant force. Turkey also takes part in solving the Syrian problem, in the fight against ISIS along with the Kurds, Russians and Americans. Iran is not there. That’s why you should make a distinction between the dream of Iran on the Shiite axis and the real possibilities of this country.
Does Iran continues to Hamas terrorists?
For many years Iran, one way or another, supports Hamas. However, Hamas is a perfect example of the fact that intermediaries will not always act in accordance with the objectives of their bosses. Five years ago, with the beginning of the civil war in Syria, Hamas, as a Sunni organization, which is important to preserve its independence, said about the opposition to Assad, on his conversion to Sunni camp, under the tutelage of Saudi Arabia. Just then there was a crisis in relations between Iran and Hamas, which continues to this day. It has become deeper after Hamas was supported by Saudi Arabia and its attacks on Yemen. But even in times of crisis, Iran continues to support the military wing of Hamas, which needs Iran’s assistance and, lately, trying to improve relations with the leadership of the organization. These attempts mutual. Just a few days ago there was a meeting between a senior representative of Iran, Advisor to the Chairman of Parliament and a Hamas delegation in Lebanon. These days the Hamas delegation is in Tehran, they say that in the near future myself, Ismail Haniyeh (Chairman of the Hamas Politburo) will arrive in Tehran. So we see attempts to cope with the crisis in the relationship. And the help of Iran, Hamas is bound to continue. But in this case, the Iranians can do whatever they want. Before they were free to send weapons to Gaza, and today most of the channels are blocked. Egypt is not cooperating with Hamas, Sudan broke relations with Iran, so restrictions here well enough.
Text provided by the project «Pro national security». Published in the framework of the information partnership