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10 February, 2018

Trump’s State Department spent over $1m in Iran to exploit unrest for ‘regime change’, documents reveal

At the end of 2017, a dozen cities across Iran, including the capital Tehran, were rocked by spontaneous protests which continued into the New Year. What role did the United States play?

Part 8 - Low wages, growing mistrust, collapse of financial institutions and direct consequences of climate change

The analysts told Scientific American that while the immediate factors behind the protests were low wages, growing mistrust of political leaders, and the collapse of financial institutions (much of which has been amplified by ongoing US-backed sanctions), underlying drivers include the impact of climate change.

Iran has experienced a cycle of intensifying extreme droughts since the 1990s, driven largely by climate change, but exacerbated by official water mismanagement. This has impacted crop production, affecting the lives of rural farmers and worsening already high unemployment rates for young people, even as the state has responded by slashing subsidies in response to mounting economic woes.

Drought conditions are expected to worsen under business-as-usual climate projections.

Meanwhile, under Iran’s new budget fuel prices are pitched to rise by 50 per cent, welfare payments to 30 million Iranians will be cut, while sponsorship of religious and clerical institutions will increase. Climate change, in other words, is amplifying an already unsustainable economic path.

Insight: The role of State Department funding in successfully exploiting Iran’s various domestic crises – from environmental and economic challenges, to systematic human rights abuses – should not be overplayed. Even according to Iran’s intelligence minister, “It cannot be said the entire situation was guided by foreigners.” Having acknowledged that, however, these Congressional and State Department records do provide clear evidence of ongoing US efforts to exploit domestic grievances in Iran to undermine the regime from within.

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