Iran is moving closer to civil and economic pandemonium. The Wall Street Journal is reporting inflation at over 20% per month and a massive decline in the value of the Iranian rial since December on the black market. Capital flight can be a leading indicator of a middle and upper middle class that is developing contingency plans. The Iranian public and merchant class are sending a signal to the world: they have lost confidence in their future and want a better store of value.
This is no time to lead from behind. Now is the time for the White House to reach out to the Iranian public to stress that U.S. sanctions against the central bank and a potential European embargo on Iranian oil are directed at the current regime and not at the Iranian people. This will not reduce the pain on the street, but thus far Washington’s message is again muted.
News sources are reporting another major explosion from a city in Iran very near a nuclear weapons development site. This comes only two weeks after another such explosion. In both cases the Iranian government, in full baghdadbobbian* mode, denies the explosions have anything to do with their nuclear programs. In the first instance, the official explanation was that the explosion, which killed more than twenty military personnel including a top general, resulted from human error during a routine movement of standard munitions.
The assault force of Navy SEALs snatched a trove of computer drives and disks during their weekend raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, yielding what a U.S. official called “the mother lode of intelligence.”