The reports of severe and extensive riots in Iran couldn’t come at a better time for Pres. Trump and the West. With the US out of the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA), Iran is teetering on the brink of spending vast amounts of money on a new nuclear weapons initiative. The crowds are protesting the spending of Iran’s wealth on foreign expansionism, including funding Hezbollah, the Houthis and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, established to destroy Israel and take over Al Quds (Jerusalem). This is highly resented by the generally young and impoverished Iranian public. That is why they have been shouting “Death to Palestine!” the opposite of the usual regime chant of “Death to Israel!”
Many years ago I read a scholarly article in Science magazine analyzing the Soviet economy. Its authors, after calculating the cost to the Soviet Union of maintaining its armed forces and control over the E. European satellites, concluded that the economic production of the Soviet Union could not maintain this occupation and would soon collapse. Very few noticed this article, but it was prescient. Another way of saying this is “it’s the economy stupid.” If your production cannot keep up with your expenditure, as Charles Dickens said, the result is ruin.
The Ayatollahs who run the regime in Iran are not economists. The writing is on the wall, the Iranian currency lost 30% of its value last week, mainly because of the re-imposition of the extensive sanctions previously removed by Pres. Obama. But, the Ayatollahs firmly believe that God is on their side and God demands that they smite the infidels. And what better way for the leaders of Shi’ism to show how Islamic they are than to smite the Jews, especially in their city of Jerusalem. They cannot give up this obsession, it was a center piece of Ayatollah Khomenei’s revolution. The protesters in the streets of Tehran will have to fight to take control away from the Ayatollahs and put it back into the hands of rational people who are not war-mongers and who have the interests of the Iranian people at heart.