The 2019 Iranian fuel protests

On the 16th of November the Iranian government abruptly raised fuel prices in the nation without warning, thereby sparking widespread protests. Since then there have been some deaths, riots, and over a thousand people placed under arrest. But this bears an unsettling resemblance to other protests that have taken place in recent years in other nations. Iran has some of the lowest fuel prices in the world, and Iranians take it as a birth right that those prices remain low. Any increases are seen in a very dim light, especially since Trump withdrew from the JCPOA and re-imposed heavy sanctions on the nation. But we simply do not know the truth on the ground in Iran at the moment, for reasons we will examine here.

Following the outbreak of violence in Iran, Amnesty International posted the following tweet:

Amnesty International @amnesty 4:50 PM · Nov 19, 2019

At least 106 protesters in 21 cities have been killed in #Iran, according to reports we have received. Verified video footage, eyewitness testimony & information gathered from activists outside Iran reveal a harrowing pattern of unlawful killings by Iranian security forces.

We’ll get to Iran’s astrology in a moment. But first, starting with the tweet, it is problematic, especially the ‘information gathered from activists outside Iran’ bit. And as to the ‘verified video footage’ and ‘eyewitness testimony’, verified by whom, and who are these eyewitnesses? We are not told. But, activists outside Iran? Let’s back up a little bit.

How are the aforementioned activists receiving and transmitting information about facts on the ground in Iran when the internet in Iran is not functioning? It is common practice with large protests like these for the Iranians to shut down the internet. It keeps any agitators from being able to easily communicate with each other, whether internal or external. The MEK comes to mind as to external groups. And it is well known that Washington has been angling for regime change in Iran for years, since 1979, really.

This internet shutdown is an interesting item to consider. According to the linked article, shutting down the internet is, “something authoritarian regimes are increasingly interested in.” Authoritarian regimes only? Apparently not. India had by far the greatest number of shutdowns in 2018 for a variety of reasons. The US has its own version of an ‘internet kill switch’ in the case of a national emergency. And Iran is developing its own intranet (state firewalled internet) for just such emergencies and has its preliminary version already online. Iran has been subjected to many cyber attacks by several foreign actors since its worldwide internet went online.

It is misguided to think that only ‘authoritarian regimes’ seek to shut off the internet in times of trouble. The internet is a national security issue for any nation these days. There is another reason for shutting down the net besides the ones commonly cited (such as stifling dissent, preventing groups from communicating, preventing hate speech and so on): Shutting down the internet when a nation is in crisis also prevents foreign actors from hacking essential services and other desired targets, such as military installations. The leadership in Iran had suspected foreign actors in promoting the violence there in the past days. They had good reason to be suspicious.

During the rioting, gas stations and banks were targeted for arson. There is a report that the arson attacks were being done by paid and trained provocateurs, each receiving about $60 for every successful attack. Such attacks have been worse than the protests in February of this year. Considering that the gas/petrol for the first 60 liters costs 13 US cents a liter (49 cents a gallon) and many people in Iran are stretched now to even pay that, 60 USD is a lot of money and can buy almost two months’ worth of gasoline.

The fuel price rise was a 50% hike, but it applies only to fuel over 60 liters a week per vehicle, the amount normally used by a family in a week’s time. The surplus is to be used for social welfare payments, in support of more impoverished Iranians. This will have the dual effect of keeping people afloat while the economy continues to sink under the sanctions regime, and to shore up the support base of a large sector of the population. It would appear to be a wise move all around, putting oneself in the place of the government. When the economy rebounds in the future, provided the government as it is still stands, it will go far toward social welfare. The public will absorb the cost, and still have some of the cheapest fuel in the world.

Iran has a wide-ranging social welfare program, which has lifted millions of Iranians out of poverty since the 1979 revolution, even in the face of war and sanctioning. It reflects the resolve of the Aries Sun/Leo rising resilience in the Iranian chart. Those social programs help the government to maintain its support from the populace, aside from just being good policy. There are actually large protests against the current riots and in support of the government taking place in Iran, for example. And as of this writing, the protests have already died down.

But, what about this Amnesty International (AI) report? AI is a British-based organization, with participants and employees in over 150 countries. It is supposed to be impartial in its assessments, but it has come under criticism in the past for partiality in some of its reporting and for abuses in its management culture. What we read in that tweet would appear to be propaganda, and poorly conceived at that. Why we would say that is as follows.

The West has a reason to try to paint Iran in a bad light, and it is not really about its nuclear program or its ballistic missiles, now unequalled in the Middle East. It is all about location, location, and the fact that Iran is increasingly turning toward the East and bypassing the dollar. Iran controls the Strait of Hormuz, is the major regional power, is to be a key hub in China’s BRI, and has formed powerful regional alliances which run counter to the plans of the Saudis, Israelis, a few other Gulf States and the US. Therein is the reality behind these riots. They smell of an attempt at a color revolution and are being funded by these foreign interests. In DC-think, Iran must be brought to heel. So, what does the chart for Iran say? The chart is below (bigger)

There is actually quite a lot going on with Iran’s astrology now, and this year marks a turning point for the nation. We won’t cover all that here, instead focusing on the protests. The directions and transits of importance are outlined on the chart. What we see with the present situation in Iran is probably best described by the directed Uranus to Iran’s Vertex – a sudden or radical change of view. This is evident not only in the humanism behind the fuel price hikes, but also in the gradual enrichment of uranium under the guidelines of the JCPOA. The latter is also shown by the progressed full moon on Iran’s Uranus (progressions not shown on the chart, but the progressed Moon is on Iran’s Uranus at the moment.).

Uranium is named after the planet Uranus, and the latter rules uranium. It is a risky strategy the Iranians have taken with their uranium enrichment, but is part of their ‘maximum resistance’ strategy (also shown by the progressed full moon), and pressures the E3 (Britain, France and Germany) to ensure the JCPOA stays intact. It is also a move away from the US dollar, as a side note.

There was also a transit of Pluto from the 6th house (services and military) to the Iranian Moon in the 10th. The Moon rules the 12th house (secret enemies of the state) and also the people in general. Given what we are seeing in Iran and the policy of the US toward Iran, are we surprised by the protests there, the violence, the paid provocateurs and so on?

The maximum pressure campaign of the Trump administration has not worked, nor will it eventually win out. Iran is even now exporting more oil than it did in its worst period (graph below). Iran has faced more withering circumstances than this – heavy sanctions in the past and the Iran/Iraq war – survived and gone on to be an even greater regional power than anyone would have thought, and the preeminent one at that.

The only hope for regime change Washington and its allies have is to foment some sort of insurrection that would bring Iran to its knees. The chart just does not show that. And with the public sentiments in Iran we are seeing, with the demonstrations in support of the government and Iran’s social structure, these riots will pass. Another failed attempt to bring down a resistant ‘regime’. The regime in DC (the MIC) should know better by now.

At the annual Astana Club meeting in Kazakhstan, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif gave a scathing assessment of the behaviour of the US toward Iran and outlined in frank detail what has happened since the 1979 revolution. He also highlighted especially how that same behaviour toward other nations, namely Russia and China, has pushed them all together in common interest. But even with his very forceful presentation, he still held out a ray of light for a resolution of difficulties:

“If what was promised to Iran in terms of economic normalization is delivered, even partially, we are prepared to show good faith and come back to the implementation of the JCPOA. If it’s not, then unfortunately we will continue this path, which is a path of zero-sum, a path leading to a loss for everybody, but a path that we have no other choice but to follow.”

And now, to cap this story off, Iran has just discovered a huge natural gas field which could power Tehran for 16 years. Further, the sanctions have had an effect on Iran similar to those on Russia, in that they have pushed Iran to develop its own indigenous industries, including oil exploration, and not to mention the expansion of its own MIC. The recent announcement of the massive oil field discovery now appears to have been more of a PR move than anything, yet it is still a very significant find and will add strength to the Iranian economy in the future.

Reading between the lines, Washington is desperate to rein in Iran. Iran has developed itself. If the sanctions are dropped, if ‘maximum pressure’ fails, Iran has everything to gain. The Iranians do not want the bomb. It’s against their religion (they have said as much). So, all the enrichment going on there is simply a ploy, a tactic. The main thing they want is sanctions relief, or for the E3 to push their special purpose vehicle much harder and stand up to the US.

If you are looking for regime change anytime soon in Iran, you are likely to be disappointed. There is nothing in the chart that points to an overthrow. There will be changes coming, probably more in the nature of a leadership spill when Uranus transits over the Iranian Midheaven in mid-2020. But even that may point to something else, as in a radical new outlook for the populace or a breakthrough in the JCPOA crisis. Remember, Uranus rules uranium.

There will be stresses still on Iran over the next few years. But there will be a revolution coming in its international banking relations, starting also sometime next year or so, marked by the Uranus/Pluto midpoint being directed to within three degrees of Iran’s Neptune, the latter ruling Iran’s 8th house (international banking). Iran’s directed Neptune is now conjunct Iran’s Ceres (also not shown), showing a turning point there, and also showing the use of money from sales of oil to bolster public services (6th house).

The 8th house also rules death, but transformation as well. Iran is due to come on-board the SCO in the next year or so. It is not hard to imagine what comes next, and the West would not be happy. It would complete a dream of Russia and China in greater Eurasian integration, and essentially lock Central Asia into the Russo-Sino sphere.

However, in closing, the real test of Iranian nerve and resolve will be over the next year and a bit, with the directed Mars/Uranus midpoint to Iran’s Venus, ruling the 10th house (sitting government) and 3rd house (transport, media, commerce). It’s election time in the US and Trump wants a win in a big way. The sanctions are Trump’s baby. If he fails to break Iran it won’t go down well. And if by some slim chance the Dems make it to the White House next year, we may just see the US resuming the JCPOA. I wouldn’t hold my breath on the latter, but 2020 is going to be a wild ride around Iran, and the outlook in general is for Iran to come out the winner here. These protests will die down.

Featured pic from Asharq al-Awsat

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