Short Notes on Iranian Economy
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Are we the laziest?
I am sure that my compatriots would possibly hate me for saying this. But I do not think there is anyone as lazy as us, the Iranians! It is our New Year. Fine, Happy New Year to everyone, but for god's sake, why everything, including the national newspapers, news sites, are closed for two weeks! Does it mean that nothing is going to happen during these two weeks, or, does not matter, or what? I am out of Iran, but, I fear, many offices may be closed too. Later this month, I guess, there would be another week of holiday to " celebrate the success" of Nuclear policy of the government! Who knows, in the following month there may have to be breaks, because the sanction is becoming too tight, hence, factories may not have raw materials to work with! On the other hand, there are several religious holidays to cope with. I wish someone would tell me where else in this planet, they close everything for two weeks in peace time of get off work in this fashion as we do in Iran?
Sorry folks, I had to take this off my chest!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
The Shepherd boy's cry for help!
When Ahmadinejad speaks of a “grand plan for economic transformation”, the Iranian nation should take shelter to minimise the impact! Since coming to power, he has been giving these promises which are not usually kept. The difference being that he is now talking about a “grand plan” which would include measures against “ discrimination”,” inefficiency” “ inefficient distribution of the banking resources”, and also measures to review“ subsidies”, “tax collection” and “ goods distribution”. One wonders apart from paving the way for a big party for the 30th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution next year, what else he has in his sleeves? If all these could be done in one year, by not doing them in the past 29 years; is he saying that the Islamic government has been wasting people’s time and resources?
Let us wait and see when he talks about transformation what he actually means . I do not think he means much, but let us see.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Mr Khatami’s Riddles!
God bless Mr Khatami! Once again he has proposed riddles to be resolved by the Iranian people. He said, “There is a plan which must be disturbed”. But, the question is what plan, by whom? Who is planning to do what? He immediately added “in whatever way possible we have to disrupt this game”. Once again, what game Mr Khatami? Who are the players and what are their aims and objectives? For the people at large who are being crashed under unprecedented economic hardship, you propose a riddle to be resolved! Unspecified “plan” and “game would not help any one. How can any one disturb a plan, if it is to remain a “secret”! Why do you not face these issues up front and tell the people in no uncertain term what do you think is going on and what you think they should or should not do. Having not resolved the first riddle we come to another, “while submissive, we would mirthfully participate in the elections”. I must admit, I am confused here. I am really confused. If you participate mirthfully, then, why submissive and if you are submissive, how can you be mirthful? If as it has been reported and is confirmed in this speech by Khatami himself, in most of the constituencies the reformist groups have no candidate, how can you be mirthful? He continued, “If Majlis- Iranian Parliament- occupies its true place in the country” and”support the popular participation in these elections, we can prevent swindle!” First and foremost, if elections are not fair and free, how can Majlis occupies its real place in the pyramid of power in the country? And he knows well that elections are not fair and are not planned to be free, given the compulsory process of seeking “consent” from more than one non-elected powerful bodies for the candidates. Furthermore, in a political structure under which one person enjoys absolute power over all the elected bodies, as Velayat-e faghih – the Guardian of the State- does in the Islamic Republic of Iran, what is the real place for a parliament anyway! Has he forgotten the record of the sixth Majlis, which has become totally toothless after a few decrees issued by the faghih! In addition to the Faghih, there is of course the Guardian Council- Shoura-ye negah-ban- and all bills passed through parliament should be approved by the Council to become law and if this un-elected body does not like them, they would simply refuse approval without having to be accountable to anyone. Again the record of sixth majlis is quite clear on this issue too. It seems that Mr Khatami has just woken up from a deep sleep as he says we have to “prevent the return of despotism”! Really! God bless you Sir! Did despotism go anywhere that now, you are afraid that it may return? Are you saying that you are not aware of what are going on in front of your own eyes in the country? The way that university students are being treated, the way that workers are being suppressed. What about women activists! Do you not know all these or do you prefer to ignore them? However, after a little more waffle, Mr Khatami proposes another riddle, to achieve what he has suggested, “It is important to point out that critical press and parties are essential”. Does he not know that neither would be tolerated by the authorities in Iran? It seems that Mr Khatami does not pay attention to what his political colleagues are saying in the country which is a clear indication of what might happen in the near future. However, the Speaker of the House who is not qualified to issue fatwa, has issued one pointing out that “weakening of the government from whatever source, is forbidden and haram”. Anyone who is familiar with Iranian political culture knows the meaning of this “fatwa”, i.e. less tolerance and more arrests to follow. What is worrying is the Speaker, Mr Haddad Adel, is not one of the hard-liners in the authority! As said earlier, Khatami while talking about “mirthful participation” in these elections, also confirmed that “in most constituencies, the reformists cannot compete with others in the elections” as their candidates failed to be approved. Given this situation, how then they can mirthfully participate in an exercise from which they have been barred? What is really disturbing, however, is this that Mr Khatami seems to be incapable of learning from his mistakes. For eight long years, during his two terms presidency, using a very similar language, Mr Khatami offered riddles to the people of Iran, and now, he continues with the same tradition. He encourages the people to be “actively involved” in these elections, and this is despite the fact that he knows full well that the scope for active participation is not available. He has even turned to those candidates who were not approved and, consequently, could not compete in these elections and asked them to be “actively involved and encourage the voters to participate in full”. What I believe it boils down to once again, is Mr Khatami’s attempt to abuse people’s confidence in him to support the main current in the Islamic Republic of Iran which in fact, tolerates him for this very reason. As a kind of carrot that could prepare the situation for the use of the stick. What Mr Khatami does not seem to understand is when the main current with the help of him and other “reformists” like him succeeded in destroying what is left of civil society in Iran by crashing all the civil opposition, then, it would be his turn. Why I say this is linked with the current deep rooted economic crisis for which Mr Ahmadinejad’s government had effectively nothing to offer except populist slogans about nuclear energy. These slogans may have been attractive two years ago, but not any more. In support of this view point, let us consider what Kiyan ersi, one of the few remaining reformist candidate said when he was asked which political groups you think would have more support in the elections, the reformists or the fundamentalists? To which he replied, “We are reaching a point that this type of classification is becoming irrelevant. Hunger, economic pressure, problems with housing, problems related to income, eduction, marriage, and jobs would not recognise reformism from fundamentalism”.
In such a situation, active and mirthful participation in these elections is nothing but an act of working towards guaranteeing political legitimacy to those who have brought Iran to its knees. For God’s sake Mr Khatami, please try to be honest with the people of Iran and stop offering these riddles. To overcome these difficult conditions, they need leadership, not riddles.
 the speech could be read here, http://www.aftabnews.ir/vdcgqz9akz9xu.html
 for further details see, http://tabnak.ir/pages/?cid=7518
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
A sily game by sily politicians!
I think it is a part of a litany saying that “ O’ My God, what have you denied those whom you have given them reason, but to those whom you have denied reason, have you given anything worth having ”? It seems to apply to the situation in Iran and especially in relation to the commander in chief of the Islamic Guards, Jafari. A day after the passing of the resolution 1803, he has asked the Iranians to ensure that “ they would export the Islamic Revolution to the rest of the world”. First, an Islamic or an anti-Islamic revolution is not a pair of jeans or underwear to be “exportable”! They tried and tried and they failed and failed. It only took the American " infidals" to topple Saddam in order to " Export the Islamic Revolution to Iraq", save the rest of the world. It did cost a few shillings too! What is most likely to happen- if he is to be taken seriously- is intrusion in the internal affairs of others which in turn, would pave the way and be seen as a permisstion for others to interfere in the internal affairs of Iran! Is this what Genral Jafari wants? His others comments is even more stupid, claiming that the US wants to attack Iran but is frightened to do so! It is true that the US is bogged down so badly in Iraq and in Afghanistan that is most unlikely to embark upon another adventure. My fear, however, is that Iranian political leaders and army officers are stretching it too far and may at the end create an enviornment in which the US would have no other option but to attack. Is this what they want?
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Haddad Aadel, the speaker of the House, has claimed that Europeans are desperately dependent on the markets in the Muslim world and went on to demand that the Muslims should be thinking to boycott Danish goods as a protest against the "Danish insult" upon Prophet Mohammad. It is ironic that according to him, the most " effective method" to deal with this kind of issues " is economic boycott". This may be so, but it is not clear why he and other Iranian leaders keep claiming that the existing boycott by the US and others against Iran had no effect whatsoever on the economy. Some have even claimed that it has been beneficial, as it encouraged domestic production. This is despite the fact that there is no evidence in support of this claim. On the contrary, all the available evidence seem to show a deterioration of the economic conditions in Iran. It is worth pointing out that Mr Haddad seems unaware of the fact that if any restriction is imposed on a member of the EU, then other members would have to respond and they usually do. When this issue came into the open sometimes ago and the Iranian authority threatened to boycott Danish goods, the EU issued a very strongly worded statement that those restrictions would also " apply" to other members, i..e. Iran would be almost automatically boycotted by the rest of the EU. On that occasion, very quietly the Iranians ignored their own threat and I think, they would do the same this time.