On Wednesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei, mocked the West, boasting that it was “declining.” Khamenei wrote, “I declare it firmly that the Western civilization is declining. Even Western intellectuals have felt it. Societies' events and evolutions occur over time. The Western and materialistic civilization we see today is treading the path towards destruction.”
Khamenei is whistling in the dark; his own economy is failing drastically. As Fox Business noted on Monday:
As of early 2019, Iran's economy is spiraling backward, contracting at a rate of 6 percent after contracting nearly 4 percent in 2018, as tracked by the International Monetary Fund. By comparison, the U.S. economy grew at a rate of 3.2 percent Opens a New Window. in the first quarter of the year, according to the Commerce Department. As the economy shrinks, prices are skyrocketing, with inflation soaring higher than 32 percent … In the U.S., inflation has remained persistently below the 2 percent range, the preferred level of the Federal Reserve.
In April, The World Bank reported of Iran:
The central government budget deficit for the first nine months of 2018/19 deteriorated to a record high of IRR451.1 trillion (equivalent to 4 percent of 2017/18 GDP for the same period), almost 40 percent more than the approved budget for the entire 2018/19 year, mainly due to a 62 percent shortfall in expected current revenues.
As far as a civilization in decline, it is not the United States that is indicting independent journalists; five journalists who cover labor affairs have been indicted in connection with workers’ rights protests in Iran. Sepideh Oolivan, the editor-in-chief of the Gam Independent Telegram app news channel, along with four others, has reportedly been charged with “assembly and collusion against national security,” “forming groups with the intention to disturb national security” and “contacts with anti-state organizations.”
How repressive is the Iranian system? As IranHumanRights.org reports, “Since late 2017, detainees held on national security-related charges—including journalists, activists, and defense lawyers—have been told to choose their counsel from a list approved by Iran’s chief justice.” IranHumanRights reported in September 2018:
The arrest of three more lawyers in Iran, Payam Derafshan, Farrokh Forouzan and Hoda Amid, represents the continuing escalation of Iran’s assault against its own legal profession and a flagrant violation of these individuals’ basic rights to freedom of expression and due process, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said in a statement today.
Payam Derafshan, Farrokh Forouzan and Hoda Amid, as well as all of the other imprisoned human rights attorneys in Iran, which include Abdolfattah Soltani, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Arash Keykhosravi and Ghasem Sholeh Sa’di, should be released immediately, CHRI said.
“The authorities in Iran arrested these lawyers for the same reason all the other human right defenders are imprisoned—to prevent the effective defense of political prisoners and civil liberties in Iran,” said Hadi Ghaemi, CHRI executive director.
Khamenei is really feeling the pressure; Khamenei’s representative at the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, recently claimed that the sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran amounted to an act of war, stating, “Someone in the US says we are after crippling sanctions, and officially announces his decision to impose ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran. Aren’t they a war against the Iranian nation?”