Iranian ex-pat Page Khalajestani, a Registered Investment Advisor and an Iranian political and economic expert who was the first female trader on Wall Street and was mentored by Warren Trepp provides her insight on the relationship with the United States and Iran.
Ms. Khalajestani is the daughter of a Colonel in the Shah’s Imperial Army and a Counter Intelligence officer – and therefore has a uniquely qualified insider perspective of trending events out of Iran.
Journalist Steven Scholar recently sat down with Ms. Khalajestani to talk about Iran and the United States current status.
How would you assess the current situation with the US and Iran?
“Very tense and contentious given the recent new Admin position on the Nuclear deal with Iran, the added sanctions and US strong relations with Israel. Those three are the Bermuda Triangle for any Iranian government in place. Even a democratic one, which is far off into the future, but especially now. Nuclear Deal, Sanctions, Israel are the three major stumbling blocks for establishing any kind of meaningful relations with Iran. Iran will not flip on these issues and it seems neither will the current US administration and so it is a bit of a stalemate.”
How did we get here?
“Iran has refused to let the US meddle in its politics any further, as it has done for over 70 years starting with the CIA operation in the middle of the last century that replaced the democratic PM with its preferred puppet, the Shah’s Father, Reza Shah. Although many thought this regime would have been decimated by now, everyone, including over 10 million Iranian ex-pats and all US administrations since 1979, greatly underestimated the level of ambition the ruling uneducated hard-line clergy had.”
“But Iran’s income, for the most part, is dollar denominated and the people of Iran are progressive enough and have internet access so they see the growth the rest of the world is having while they are being left behind. Iran will have a hard time thriving without better relations with the US. They can and will survive as demonstrated by the past 40 years since the Islamic Revolution, but the difficulty is thriving without a stable currency against the dollar and roadblocks put in place with other trading partners like India, China, Europe via the US imposed sanctions.”
What is the general view of Trump?
“Depends on who you ask. Oddly enough University students don’t dislike the US and Trump as much as let’s say the same group hated the US admin in 1978-79 who were the architects of the Islamic Revolution. Basically, the hardliners (small base) are determined to fight him but the general population is busy struggling with everyday living Islamic restrictions, lack of opportunity, class warfare, lack of affordable housing to care about politics. I have it from multiple reliable sources that the younger generation (65% of total population) are too tired of fighting for the country and just want to learn a new language and find a way out. Language private classes are the most sought-after commodity inside Iran now, English, German, French, Spanish, even Chinese. They just want to better their own lives, it’s as if they have embraced the “Me Generation” from 20 years ago. It’s as if they are still to a degree stuck in time.”
Are Iranians aware of the ‘Yellow Vest’ Movement currently taking place globally?
“They are aware of all global resistance movements. They get the same news and information as we do but again, they are struggling with day to day living issues. They are being forced out of the city limits for affordable housing, there are more college grad students then there are jobs, export jobs are fewer and fewer as orders from clients get canceled due to sanctions pressure. Companies can’t make payroll as the financial lines have been shut down, they are struggling internally, arrests and executions have increased, they are not really focused on Yellow Jackets. A young group of friends actually laughed at me when I brought it up to them recently. There is a European consortium putting an alternative financial route together between Iran and Trading partners that is NOT Dollar based so they can get their goods and Iranian companies can get paid. So they are all in a scramble mode right now but still you will not see an uprising until a different kind of restriction is put on the Iranian youth from the outside to force them to turn on this already weakened regime.”
What do you foresee for Iran 2019?
“I foresee a lot of political posturing but if they do not get back online with financial partners in the next few months, the lack of funding, oil and other export sales and ability to get their crude oil out to be refined and sold (as they don’t have enough refining capacity inside IRAN) there will continue to be protests and suicide bombings and growing turmoil inside the country. Isolated hot spots are popping up all over the domestic map. The US is simply not putting enough pressure on them and we are punishing some US and European companies for doing business with Iran but not others. The odd thing is that some European and US companies who are being threatened with punishments or fines are not bringing this inequality up to anyone in this administration. I think taking our US foot off the pressure peddle could be very detrimental down the line.”