Tehran, Dec 27 (EFE).- Presidential elections, resumption of negotiations to save the nuclear pact, drought, inflation or lack of women on the football field are some of the issues currently in focus in 2021 in Iran.
The ultra-conservative Ebrahim Raisí won in June’s presidential election with an overwhelming 61.9% of the vote, but turnout was only 48.8%, the lowest since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Raisí’s victory, following the veto of a majority of reformist candidates, marked the return of the hard wing of the Iranian regime after eight years of moderate Hasan Rohaní.
Iran and Germany, France, Britain, China, Russia and the United States indirectly resumed negotiations to save the 2015 nuclear pact in late November, after a five-month lull for Iran’s presidential election.
After a new chapter – the seventh – the agreement seems far away: Iran insists on lifting sanctions imposed by Washington in 2018 after abandoning the pact and other countries stressing that Tehran must end its nuclear program.
Iran is facing its worst drought in 50 years, a situation that in addition to threatening 70% of agricultural land has caused discontent among parts of the country’s population.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has been pressing for a solution to the water supply problem, which mainly affects farmers, but so far the authorities have made little progress on fighting the problem.
The lack of water, power outages and the dire economic situation have sparked protests in various parts of the country, which are repressed with the usual ferocity of the Iranian government.
Protests in Tehran, Isfahan or Khuzestan, among other places, led to strong criticism of the country’s theocratic system, and even slogans against Khamenei.
The Iranian rial continues the devaluation it has endured since 2018, when the United States re-imposed sanctions on Tehran, a situation which only worsened with the start of negotiations to save the 2015 nuclear pact.
After overcoming the psychological barrier of 300,000 riyals per dollar, the Government is considering ending subsidized tariffs on imports of basic products of 42,000 riyals for the US currency, as the costs are high and fuel inflation.
Iran posted peak inflation of 45.2% in 2021, a nearly three-decade record and well above the 30% average in recent years.
Hit by US sanctions and the coronavirus, inflation has not stopped rising in recent years, pushing prices up and fueling public discontent.
Iran continues to have difficulty exporting its main economic asset: oil. Tehran is expected to export around 600,000 bpd today, well below the nearly three million bpd in 2018, exacerbating the country’s economic situation.
With China as the main customer, Iran expects to increase its exports to 1.2 million bpd next year, according to data from a recently presented draft national budget that has yet to be approved by Parliament.
WORLD SUGAR CHAMPIONSHIP
With another seven gold, three silver and three bronze, Iran won the medal table of the 2021 World Wrestling Championships held in Oslo in October.
Iran’s Hassan Yazdani’s victory against America’s David Taylor was especially celebrated in the Persian nation, where the fighter was received with photographs of him adorning Tehran’s main streets.
WOMEN ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD
Iranian football supporters are still unable to attend football matches after it was announced they could attend the stadium for the duel between Iran and South Korea, Qatar’s 2022 World Cup qualifier in September, a decision which was later reversed further.
After a 40-year veto, the Iranian government allowed women to attend a match in Tehran in October 2019, but the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic ended match attendance and authorities have since prevented fans from returning to stadiums.
Iran has been crowned champions of men’s sitting volleyball for the seventh time, after beating the Russian Paralympic Committee (RCP) in Tokyo.
With seven titles, Iran became the most successful country in men’s volleyball sitting at the Paralympics. EFE
jlr / ig
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