Middle East Online
By Hassan Mahmoudi
Monday, 27 march 2017
Key government officials benefit more from the focus on the region versus dealing with the miserable living situation facing the Iranian people and its economy, reports Hassan Mahmoudi.
Middle East Online
Middle East Online
After weeks of regime in-fighting and attention in Syria, resulted in atrocities and massacre in Aleppo, and sending advanced weapons and military advisers to Yemen, and building a number of weapons production factories in Lebanon for Hezbollah. Both the Supreme Leader and President Rouhani turned to the state of Iran’s economy in their messages for Nowruz, Iran’s New Year.
On Tuesday march 21 in the holy shrine of Imam Reza in Iran’s northeastern holy city of Mashhad the supreme leader Khamenei reiterated the significance of domestic production in the new Iranian year’s speech. “What is obvious today is that “economic vacuums are huge”, the leader noted, pointing to “unemployment and harsh living conditions.”. “Weak management”, “recession in domestic production”.
On the same occasion last year Khamenei proclaimed his “Resistance Economy”, labeling the Iranian Year 1395 “Resistance Economy, Action, and Implementation”. Khamenei first used the term “Resistance Economy” in 2012
However, the slogan has achieved nothing in practice during the last 5 years, one local salesman in Tehran said: “we don’t believe in such hollow slogans, these harsh living conditions, which are direct consequences of the supreme leader Khamenei, who pedals every aspect of our life, and it is ridiculous that he reminds our miserable life in New Year”.
For many in Iran, the economy doesn’t appear to be improving, despite the lifting of various sanctions as a result of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), moreover any effort to increase domestic production faces serious head winds.Iran is suffering double-digit inflation rates for most of the past decade. Iran's currency, the Rial (Iran Currency), lost about half of its value against the U.S. dollar, the difficulty of obtaining loans and increased labor costs, are particular challenges. Furthermore, Corruption in Iran is ingrained in the political and financial institutions that are the country’s backbone.”
An Iranian MP noted that rice imports were higher than what was needed for the country and has been quoted as saying, “The 400 tons of rice imported into the country has provided benefit to specific people. “ But he did not mention the names of rice importers who are sons of ayatollahs.
Economic analysts point out that Iran has continued to spend money for Islamic revolutionary guard’s corps (IRGC) strategies, such as exporting terrorism, missile launch drills, producing weapons and bomb and naval exercise in the Persian Gulf, instead of working to improve the economic situation of its people. Key government officials benefit more from the focus on the region versus dealing with the miserable living situation facing the Iranian people and its economy including its domestic production.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran’s U.S. Representative Office hosted a panel of experts on March 8, 2017 described the situation as :”In Iran, ownership of property in various spheres of the economy has gradually shifted from the population at large to a minority of the ruling elite, according to the report. This minority is comprised of the Supreme Leader’s office and the IRGC, using 14 powerhouses. The report summarizes it this way, “The driving force behind all major economic developments have been the expansion of the sphere of influence of Khamenei’s office and the IRGC over the country’s economic resources, in order to intensify suppression, support terrorism, and advance the nuclear program.”
“Privatization” in this case means that a significant number of Iran’s economic institutions have been handed off to the Supreme Leader and the security, military, and economic groups under his influence.
The study found that a small number of IRGC affiliates and Khamenei aides gain easy access to low-interest loans, many of which have never been repaid, resulting in a financial crisis in its own right.”
According to Transparency International, who gives voice to the victims and witnesses of corruption, Iran ranks 131 out of 176 countries. The scale of corruption has not changed significantly when comparing Rowhani’s presidency with that of his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“Iran’s political system make available distinctive opportunities for corruption,” one Tehran analyst said. “With so many axes of power, like, Supreme leader, the president, parliament, the Guardian Council, and the IRGC, embezzlement, bribery, forgery and money-laundering embrace Iran’s economy like cancer, with no medicine. Even “Companies operating or planning to invest in Iran face a very high risk of corruption. A powerful system of political patronage, nepotism and cronyism pervades all sectors of the economy”.
Thus, Khamenei’s mirage during the last 5 years, undermines domestic production and not just for thousands but for millions of women and men the questions arose: Where do we now find our source of revenue? Who destroyed our domestic production? And replace it with Corruption as a way of life in Iran.