OE Watch Commentary: While the Islamic Republic of Iran likes to project an image of outward strength, decades of sanctions and, more importantly, corruption and mismanagement have led to a declining infrastructure, especially outside of major cities and in the country’s periphery.
With mountains that rival the Rockies, winters in northern Iran can be harsh. Abnormally heavy snow this past winter has strained the Iranian government’s capacity to provide services such as electricity and gas. Such issues can destabilize Iran quickly: during the winter of 2007-2008 heavy snows and subsequent gas shortages led bread prices to jump between 200 and 700 percent across northern Iran and ultimately forced the Iranian government to deploy the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to keep order across northern Iran.
Against the backdrop of the February storms, several members of the Iranian parliament criticized President Hassan Rouhani’s administration for unbalanced, unplanned, and incorrect relief distribution and warned that the government bungled relief in a way that could cause the people’s dissatisfaction with the system and subsequent protesting.
Western governments understandably approach Iran through the diplomatic lens, but the Iranian government’s own domestic failures and the Iranian military’s domestic deployments reflect a fundamental infrastructure weakness and popular discord that continues to afflict some areas of Iran even 35 years after its Islamic Revolution. End OE Watch Commentary (Rubin)