World

Iranian Lawmaker Warns His Country Could Collapse Like the Soviet Union

A lawmaker in Iran has warned that the “unnecessary costs” and bad priorities of the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy could lead to its collapse, pointing to the failure of the Soviet Union as an example.

Reformist politician Jalil Rahimi Jahanabadi made the remarks this week before Iran’s parliament, according to Radio Free Europe. He took aim at the negative consequences that Iran’s actions throughout the Middle East and internationally have brought to his country, including mass demonstrations in the streets of major Iranian cities.

"Our influence in the region is important, but one point should not be forgotten, and that is, sometimes it is possible that unnecessary expenses can cripple us on Tehran's streets,” Jahanabadi argued. He then pointed to the now defunct Soviet Union to make his point clearer.

Iranian, lawmaker, warns, collapse, Soviet, Union Iranian students protest at the University of Tehran during a demonstration driven by anger over economic problems, on December 30, 2017. STR/AFP/Getty Images

"When the Soviet Union collapsed, it had 13,000 nuclear warheads and had influence in more than 20 countries and a space station, but it was torn apart on the streets of Moscow, losing its security and territorial integrity,” the politician explained. "Today, people have difficulties making a living and feeding their children. If we fail to resolve the problem of unnecessary domestic and foreign expenditures, we will bear heavy costs."

Protests rocked major Iranian cities throughout 2018 as economic concerns weighed heavily on the population. The problem was exacerbated by a threat of renewed sanctions from the United States, which were implemented by the Trump administration last summer.

The International Monetary Fund released a report in October that showed that Iran’s economy had entered a recession due largely to the punitive financial measures from Washington. While the Persian Gulf nation’s economy was formerly expected to grow in 2018, it had actually contracted. This year, the IMF projected, it will contract further by an estimated 3.5 percent, but it should return to “modest positive growth” in 2020.

In May, President Donald Trump removed the U.S. from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was signed by his predecessor, Barack Obama, as well as the European Union, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Russia and China. The treaty aimed to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for lifting sanctions, and according to reports from the United Nations, Tehran has fully complied with the terms of the deal.

However, the White House has argued that the agreement allowed Iran to expand its regional influence by funding militant groups throughout the Middle East, which it sees as a threat to close American allies Saudi Arabia and Israel. The JCPOA’s other signatories continue to maintain the agreement with Tehran despite the difficulties posed by U.S. sanctions.

Meanwhile, Jahanabadi echoed the concerns of many Iranians as he took aim at his nation’s foreign policy in his address to parliament. “We should take care of our domestic needs," he argued. "We need to find friends, reduce tensions and increase cooperation in the region and focus on the economy as our top priority."

GettyImages-983551104 Iranian protesters shout slogans during a demonstration in central Tehran, Iran, on June 25, 2018. ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

Join the Discussion

Editor's Pick