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Middle East: Iran is on the brink of a new popular uprising - by Huda al-Husseini

New sanctions against Iran can be viewed as a warning to Tehran to halt the activities of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force. Trump has set a deadline that ends in the first two weeks of May to amend the nuclear deal with Iran. The political arena is troubled as France, Britain and Germany began to move backward in the last few weeks to please Trump in an attempt to convince him not to withdraw from the agreement.

Meanwhile, these countries proposed new sanctions to restrain Iran’s activity in terms of its ballistic missiles and its regional activity in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. Iran seems to be “working as usual” as it’s using the Houthis in Yemen to launch missiles that target Riyadh upon Soleimani’s orders. However, Iran cannot continue to pursue this policy of “working as usual” for a long time because the political campaign launched by some European countries is tantamount to issuing a warning to Tehran to decrease Soleimani’s military activity which may reignite the problems that Iran suffered from before the nuclear deal was sealed – or perhaps cause even worse problems.

Regardless of what Washington decides to do, Iran has to show relative self-control and at least act responsibly. However, internally, it is probably difficult to maintain a unified front, as all old contentions will resurface. Even if the recent wave of protests seemed to have apparently ebbed, there is an ongoing low-level public unrest against the situation in Iran. Although the regime thinks the containment of the recent protests as being a success, it’s only a matter of time before fresh wave of strong protests erupt again. The US’ withdrawal from the deal or imposing additional sanctions may motivate a new popular uprising.

Ever since the nuclear deal was signed, Iran succeeded in attracting more than $15 billion in foreign investment. However this is not enough for the people who are in dire need of economic relief, especially when a large part of these investments need to be activated. While President Hassan Rouhani is aware of the need to translate economic growth into improving the quality of the Iranian people’s lives, Soleimani has completely different plans as he does not intend to allow Iran’s citizens to enjoy the fruits of the nuclear deal. On the contrary, Soleimani is investing massive funds which Iran secured after signing the deal for his adventures in other countries resulting in domestic and foreign criticism.

 For the complete report first published in Arabic click here : Iran is on the brink of a new popular uprising - Al Arabiya English

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