Afghanistan falling into the hands of the Taliban has given Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, an opportunity to get their way into having the West and especially the US to have the sanctions lifted in the upcoming Vienna talks.
The fall of the Afghan government, followed by the removal of US military forces from the country, will have undermined the US position in the Vienna Talks. The Iran government supports the Taliban occupation in the country to put the US in a tight spot and lift the sanctions in the upcoming Vienna Talks that have been stalled for two months.
There have been sanctions on Iran against building a nuclear weapon. In prospect of the turmoil in Afghanistan, Khamenei has increased the uranium enrichment to 60%. He believes that with the US under international pressure for the failed and unplanned withdrawal from Afghanistan, he can message the international community that if Iran’s requirement is not met, they are only a few steps away from building a nuclear weapon.
In the face of a global pandemic, which Khamenei has entirely rejected the existence of, Iran has become the world’s fifth most affected country, with up to a thousand people dying of Covid every day. Even still, Khamenei restricted the import of American vaccines in Iran, with a total of 6% of the vaccination rate in the country. He has had to approve the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines now, that too under international pressure. Moreover, the government already has a crippled economy with skyrocketing inflation of up to 50% leading to the decreased purchasing power of people, pushing them under the poverty line. The national bankruptcy due to corruption followed by the previously mentioned aspects has brought people to the streets in different regions, protesting against the government’s inability to stabilize the economy, followed by a breakdown by Khamenei’s hand-picked agents’ in the government. The supreme commander is well aware that if the protests continue, they may escalate into an uprising to overturn the regime and usher in democracy.
But sources believe that the United States will never give in to the pressure and lift sanctions from Iran. With the threat of the US refusing to meet Iran’s demands, the Iranian people’s displeasure with the leadership will eventually erupt into an uprising, leading to the regime’s overthrow.