Country close-up: Iran on the Global Peace Index 2019

Global Peace Index: 139 out of 163
Change in rank: down nine places

Iran fell in peacefulness for the second year in a row, with its score deteriorating by 5.1 per cent. The Safety and Security and Ongoing Conflict domains deteriorated by eight and 4.6 per cent respectively, largely attributable to increased internal turmoil and involvement in external conflicts.

Four indicators on the Safety and Security domain deteriorated over the past year. The greatest deterioration was in the likelihood of violent demonstrations, which increased from a score of two to 3.5, reflecting sporadic protests in 2018 in response to inflation, currency depreciation, and corruption.

Political instability has also deteriorated. In 2018, the US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal, and has subsequently re-imposed sanctions on Iran. The International Monetary Fund has forecast an economic contraction in 2019 as a result. International economic and diplomatic pressures combined with a crackdown on protesters in December of 2018 and January of 2019 have lowered confidence in the current government.

In terms of external conflict, Iran deteriorated most significantly in external conflicts fought due to its continued engagement in the civil wars in Syria. The country is also believed to support fighters in Yemen and Iraq. Its involvement in these proxy wars has resulted in growing tensions with the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel. These wars have also contributed to an increase in military expenditure, which rose from 3.75 to 4.56 per cent of gross domestic product in the past year.