What will 2022 be Like for Iran?

by Pedram Samiêi — 7January 2022

The year 2022 can a critical year for Iran, one of the most populated counties in the Middle East is facing increasing economic challenges, poverty and possibility of war if the nuclear talks fail.

An Iranian woman holds her child while window shopping in Tehran in Dec 2021. Photo by Foad Ashtari from Tasnim.

What is Iran doing about its nuclear program and how is Iran adjusting its position in relation to the outside world, especially the Western countries could have consequences for the countriy’s economy and the Iranians’ living basket. Regardless of the consequences of the nuclear talks, Iran has to tackle the rising inflation, instability of the plunging Iranian Riyal, and its implication for Iranians living baskets. Iran is also facing a water crisis and environmental problems which are shaping the demands of a growing protest movement — especially of farmers and those living in the peripheral regions of Iran. Protests and strikes of workers, teachers, retirees, protests about the environment, and the distribution of resources could possibly change the face of 2022 for Iran and the Iranian people.

The Nuclear Deal and Frustrating Vienna Talks

There are little doubts that the current talks in Vienna that Iran is engaging in could change the country’s future. One scenario is that in the upcoming weeks Iran agrees to revive the nuclear deal or agrees to some less for less agreement. This increases engagement in the global economy with the removal of some sanctions, at least on Iran’s oil industry. It could also mean facilitated transfer of frozen funds of Iran from countries like South Korea which have kept more than $7 billion in funds for oil shipments as a result of US sanctions.

The opposite drastic scenario has loosely been called the Trigger Mechanism. If Iran pulls out from the ongoing talks in Vienna, hard sanctions against the country and occasional military engagements are possible. Then the US and its allies, including Israel, can possibly target Iran’s nuclear sites, the country’s missile plan sites, and the presence of forces close to Iran in the Middle East. Measure against Iran could range from harsh economic sanctions to occasional cyber or military interventions. Most likely a third way somewhere between these two scenarios will emerge. But would it be more close to diplomatic means for peace or to more conflict and war?

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