Most Western analysts largely agree with that assessment. “Iran is rethinking its role in the region, but not because of Mr. Trump directly,” said Walter Posch, a Middle East expert at the National Defense Academy in Vienna. “Tehran is becoming overstretched. Iran thought it could hold the ground easily: getting strong in Syria, putting pressure on Israel indirectly but not provoking it to attack. But it is getting more difficult by the day.”
Far away from the conflict zones in the Middle East, in the small alleyways of Tehran’s bazaars and the luxury car dealerships in the affluent northern parts of the city, Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear agreement has definitely added to economic woes, which are contributing to political tensions.
On Monday, protesters gathered outside the Parliament building in Tehran to complain about the economy, and the police fired tear gas to disperse them. On Sunday, the Grand Bazaar had to close because of protests.
Iran’s economy already was in a bad state. In less than a year, the rial, Iran’s currency, has declined by 50 percent in value against the dollar. The International Monetary Fund reported that a record amount of capital, $27 billion, was taken out of the country last year. Ayatollah Khamenei, in a sermon recently celebrating the end of Ramadan, called upon Iranians to stop taking leisure trips abroad, to make sure no more foreign exchange leaves Iran.
The currency crisis has led to a sharp increase in the prices of imported goods. In an effort to shield their savings, many people are buying real estate, gold and cars, driving up prices of those assets.
“Finding a safe place for my savings has become nearly impossible,” said Asgar Kouhpaee, 55, a tradesman who for years made his living as an egg wholesaler. He said he always kept his savings in cars, but this year he missed his chance. A Toyota RAV4, a midscale SUV model that costs around $25,000 in the United States and sold for $68,000 here last August, now costs around $100,000.
“Everything has gone up, even locally produced cars are now 40 percent more expensive,” he said. “Not only am I unable to purchase a new car, but who can afford to buy it from me with these prices?”
The prospect of new sanctions and pressure are terrifying him. “It just feels as if everything is spinning out of control,” he said. “We must do something to stop this.”
Such feelings are widely shared. Many people seem to be blaming their leaders, rather than President Trump or others, for most of the problems, making the government hypersensitive to expressions of dissent.
“The impact of Trump’s pullout from the nuclear deal is very very low, said Reza Khandan, the husband of Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer who was arrested last week. “Even if the nuclear agreement was fully implemented, and all the money reached here and the banking system was not under sanction, the mismanagement inside the country would have squandered the oil revenue and other transactions. We are in bad economic and social states, and it has nothing to do with Trump and sanctions he imposed or will impose.”
Last week the Iranian authorities were caught off guard when an Instagram post from a former Iranian soccer star, Ali Karimi, calling for a consumer boycott was shared 800,000 times.
“Let’s not buy anything from the market for a month, neither gold, nor cars nor anything that’s gotten more expensive,” Mr. Karimi wrote. “All of you support this until the hands of the middle men and the thieves are cut off from this country.”
Mr. Karimi, who has criticized the authorities for their policies of barring women from soccer stadiums, was promptly hauled into court that handles media-related matters to explain his call for a boycott. His case is still under review.
Numerous editors, journalists and prominent figures have been summoned before the same court for questioning.
The judicial authorities have also ramped up pressure on dissidents, most notably with the arrest of Ms. Sotoudeh.
A man was hanged last Monday, convicted of killing three police officers by running over them with a bus during a protest last winter. The driver, Mohammad Salas, denied the charge, saying his confession was coerced. His lawyer, Zeynab Taheri, was arrested the day after his client’s execution for undisclosed reasons.
Meanwhile, anticipating fresh protests over the economy and rising political dissatisfaction, the government has allocated four stadiums and six parks across the capital as locations for legal protest rallies.
Mr. Khamenei, the supreme leader, in his recent speech, insisted all is well. “The people are awake. They are motivated and they are not tired,” he said. “Those who promote the idea, following the enemies’ propaganda, that the people are tired and exhausted are tired themselves. They themselves are exhausted!”