Times have changed. Today’s Iran is one marred by internal problems, from the power struggle between Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to the tightly controlled parliamentary elections to the worsening economic strains on the daily lives of Iranians. Official figures put inflation at 21.6% and unemployment at 11.8%, although independent economists estimate that it is much higher. The Iranian currency, following the latest sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank and its oil exports, has lost over 50% of its value, making trade riskier and more expensive for Iranians.
Naturally, public attention has shifted to daily problems. Many Iranians now consider pursuit of the nuclear program as too costly.
As Iranians continue to face economic sanctions and tough talk from abroad as well as economic and political turmoil at home, their support for a nuclear program will likely continue to drop. The interesting question is whether or not this changing opinion will trickle up into the regime itself.
The nuclear program is still closely tied to national pride in Iran, but the decreasing support for it could present possible opportunities for the West.
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