As Iran continues to suffer bizarre “accidents” and speculations that point to Israel as the prime suspect are mounting, data is mounting to suggest that the United States is increasingly moving away from its target; both the declared one – to force Tehran to renegotiate a nuclear agreement that includes forgetting about its missile program and interference in the internal affairs of its neighbors; as of the real one – overthrow the regime of the ayatollahs. Meanwhile, China emerges as one of the main beneficiaries of the continuing mistakes of Washington and its allies.
With a background that goes back at least to 2010, when the US and Israel managed to introduce the Stuxnet computer virus into Iranian centrifuges, cyber warfare and sabotage have become one more front for the harassment and overthrow of the Iranian regime, without forgetting that Tehran has also built up capacities in this area. However we must add the exchange of accusations between Tel Aviv and Tehran, intensified at the end of last May when a cyber attack against the water supply system in several Israeli cities was announced, and the immediate retaliation against Shahid Rajaae, a major economic and maritime hub in southern Iran through which half of all Iranian maritime exports and imports transit.
More recently, since last June 26, the news about mysterious fires and explosions have multiplied in Iranian territory, affecting oil refineries, power plants (in Shiraz and Ahwaz) and important factories and companies, including a center for the production of liquid fuel for ballistic missiles in Khojir, near Parchin, and another for the development of centrifuges of latest generation at the Natanz nuclear power plant. The most recent event has left the cities of Qods and Garmdareh without power. At least two underground military installations are located, a plant linked to the chemical weapons program and another military production center. For now, the Iranian regime has preferred to define all of them as accidents, recognizing that the one that has affected Natanz may substantially delay its plans for the development and production of advanced centrifuges.
But while it is being clarified if all this is due to the failures of a national system increasingly stressed by the impact of the harsh sanctions imposed by Washington since May 2018, testing the patience of the population and the capacity of the regime to endure, already it is well visible that the US “maximum pressure” strategy. Not only is it not working, but it is also causing even more problems. On the one hand, the ultra-conservative turn in the new Iranian parliament has already been confirmed, ruining the moderate options of President Hassan Rohaní, since not only has he not been able to present a positive balance to the population after the 2015 agreement, but The current situation has once again aggravated the daily malaise of the 80 million Iranians. And there are still presidential elections scheduled for next year, which may lead to a more radical and destabilizing Iranian enlistment.
It is equally obvious that Iran continues to meddle in its neighbors’ affairs, if only because it has assets with which to respond to those seeking its ruin, and continues to advance its missile program, including launching its first military satellite last April. This means, in other words, that the course adopted by Donald Trump, failing to fulfill his commitment as a signatory and imposing new sanctions, does not improve what the 2015 agreement was already achieving, as consistently confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
To this commercial and investment component is added an ambitious cooperation program in the military field, not only with joint exercises and the development and production of weapons systems (counting on the fact that, as of October, Iran will be released from the arms embargo that imposed Resolution 2231 of the Security Council) but also sharing intelligence between its different services. In short, a strategic turn, which has the support of the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and which, if it finally receives the approval of the Iranian parliament, represents not only a way of survival for the Iranian regime, but also a decisive step for Beijing in your global leadership aspirations.