Iran. Since the US terminated the 2015 Nuclear Energy
Agreement on Iran's Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
(JCPOA) in May 2018 and imposed sanctions on Iran in August
2018, the country's economy has deteriorated - to the extent
that in July it considered removing four zeros on their
banknotes due to the depreciation of the currency. In
November, 1 euro cost 46,000 rial. The deteriorating economy
led to major protests during the autumn, partly due to shock
increases in fuel prices (see below).
At the beginning of the year, the International Nuclear
Energy Agency (IAEA abbreviated by Digopaul) noted that Iran still fulfilled the
terms of the Nuclear Energy Agreement, despite expanding its
stocks of enriched uranium and heavy water. But in the
spring, Iran decided to withdraw from parts of the agreement
and partially resume the program. In May, Iran threatened to
resume more parts of the program if a new agreement could
not be reached within 60 days. It was also threatened to
close the Strait of Hormuz in response to US sanctions also
applying to countries that buy oil from Iran. The response
from the United States was new sanctions. In July, the IAEA
found that Iran has now exceeded its commitments in the
agreement. According to the agreement, there was a limit of
250 kg of enriched uranium, but now it was more than 300 kg.
This was confirmed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed
In November, the country announced several measures in
its nuclear program that clearly violated the JCPOA
agreement. The enrichment will be resumed in the Fordow
underground facility, outside the city of Qom. However, the
IAEA will have the opportunity for transparency.
The sanctions against Iran in the spring and summer led
to what was becoming a serious international crisis. In May,
several vessels were attacked outside the United Arab
Emirates. According to the United States, the attack came
from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard with the help of the
huthir bells in Yemen. Since the US decided to send another
1,500 troops to the Middle East, Iran threatened to lower US
ships and ships in the area. In June, the Norwegian-owned
oil tanker Front Altair was attacked in the Gulf of Oman and
started burning after a suspected torpedo attack from Iran.
Iran denied all interference. However, the purpose of the
attack was clear: to crush the oil supply to Europe and the
United States. Another ship was attacked, the Japanese
tanker Kokuka Courageous.
On June 20, Iran shot down an American drone - according
to the United States, it was in international airspace,
according to Iran in Iran. The downturn caused the tensions
to increase dramatically. According to US President Donald
Trump, he should have ordered an attack on Iran, but "ten
minutes before the attack I stopped it".
The conflict with oil tankers continued. The reason was
simple: to prevent the transport of oil, smuggled or
smuggled. In early July, Britain seized the Iranian oil
tanker Grace 1 in Gibraltar, which is British territory. A
few weeks later, July 19, Iran stopped a British-flagged
ship in the Hormuz Strait. The ship, Stena Impero, belonged
to the Swedish shipping company Stena Bulk. A short hour
later, the British-owned Liberia-flagged ship Mesdar was
also seized in the Strait of Hormuz, but was later released.
It was not until late September that Stena Impero could
leave the Iranian port city of Bandar-e Abbas.
To solve the problem of the hijacked and attacked
merchant vessels, the United States proposed that an
international intervention force be formed in the Hormuz
Strait. Neither France nor Germany, nor any other European
country, appeared interested except for the UK's new
government, and in early August it was announced that the
British Navy would join.
The conflict with the United States was not less
complicated by the announcement by Iran in early July that
it had unveiled a spy network linked to the US CIA.
According to Iranian media, there were 17 Iranians arrested
in 2018-19 who were already sentenced. They have been
employed in "sensitive and crucial central locations" and
were recruited by the CIA when applying for a visa to the
United States. President Donald Trump dismissed it all as a
lie and propaganda.
In mid-November, violent protests erupted in the country
since the government decided to shock gasoline prices by
200%. At least 143 people were confirmed dead at the end of
the month (however, the figure may be significantly higher)
and thousands arrested. President Hassan Rohani said it was
"foreign enemies" behind the protests. However, the
country's highest religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,
showed a keen understanding that people were upset by the
price increase, but he blamed the "hooligans" and said that
"the counter-revolution and Iran's enemies have always
supported sabotage and disruption of security". At the end
of the year, it was found that 1,500 people had died in the
gasoline protests - among them at least 17 teenagers and 400
In mid-February, at least 30 soldiers in the
Revolutionary Guard's elite forces were killed by a bombing
in Baluchistan province in southeastern Iran, near the
Pakistan border. Armed Sunni group Jaish al-Adl took on the
deed. Human rights activist and lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was
sentenced in February to prison for 38 years, including
charges of violating the country's security laws, and to 148
lashes. Sotoudeh has long worked for the abolition of the
death penalty and has also represented women who objected to
the order that women must wear headscarves. In 2010-13, she
was jailed for conspiring against the state. Sotoudeh
received the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize 2012.
At the end of March, Iran suffered extensive flooding. At
least 76 people died when 25 provinces and more than 4,400
villages were affected. According to the Minister of
Transport, 14,000 kilometers of road should have been
damaged and 725 bridges completely destroyed. In addition,
the rainfall caused 400 landslides and 141 flooded rivers.
According to calculations, the total cost of the devastation
would amount to SEK 24 billion.
In February, the country's foreign minister Zarif
announced that he would step down and apologize for "all the
shortcomings". However, he did not motivate why he would
step down. However, President Hassan Rohani did not approve
of his resignation application because it "conflicts with
the country's interests". Zarif is still the country's