“Is this Me this Glorious Peacock?”
( Pondering on Iran's Economic Reform)
A. A. Kazemi
این منم طاووس علیین شده زیر بالم این جهان رنگین شده؟
When Mr. Ahmadinejad’s old car was auctioned for more than two million dollars and later his jacket was sold for over $50’000 in an strange public sale for charitable purposes, some critiques observed that he would better sell his socks and underwear for the sake of saving his economic reform plan!
Indeed, Ahmadinejad is a clever but naïve man who lives with his raw illusions and ideals rooted in his limited world view. Nonetheless, he is a peculiar phenomenon who happens to occupy a high position that entails the fate of a nation in the long history of this land of marvel called Iran! His recurrent eccentric and pompous claims to take in hand the management of the world stems from an inner drive for self-importance that should be excavated through his past. His way of running the business of the country is a reflection of this malaise.
As I said elsewhere in my previous comments, “the implementation of the economic reform plans needs a number of prerequisites without which chances for its failure are very high.” It is necessary and important to reiterate here what I summarized about those preconditions in the in that article:
- “ A favorable domestic environment paving the way for people bearing eventual economic hardship created due to inflation and price adjustments after the abolition of subsidies on energy and consumers goods;
- People confidence on the capacity, honesty and competence of the government. This factor has been under serious strains, especially after the alleged fraud and unconvinced presidential elections of 2009;
- A favorable international environment which facilitates foreign investments and transfer of technology. This dimension is seriously damaged due to the nuclear crisis which has deprived Iran from all transactions with the rest of the world through the adoption of four UN Security Council resolutions devising economic sanctions against Iran;
- A realistic understanding of the world’s rules of the game and a rational decision about friends and foes with a view to promote national interests in all circumstances and making Iran less vulnerable to outside threats;
- Transparency and truthfulness on all aspects regarding economic reform and sincere cooperation with the parliament with respect to the gradual implementation of the plan.”
While the initial steps of the reform plan package is underway, recent bills for gas and electricity shocked people dreadfully and protests against government are spreading around the country. People are only wondering how they could survive the galloping inflation that is being injected to the society.
On the other side, officials are announcing that monetary reform is underway and soon we will be witnessing four zeros being removed from national currency. This means another terrible psychological shock to the besieged people. In fact, it seems that somebody in the government (perhaps the glorious peacock) is prescribing “shock-therapy” for curing economic malaise in the country.
As I mentioned earlier, the accomplishment of an unprecedented national plan for structural changes encompass strategic, social, cultural, political, psychological and human factors as well. Handling the above requisites at present Iran seems rather difficult. Since, in this circumstance, people seem not prepared to sacrifice their short and long-run interests in situations that require devotion, dedication and support for those who have no true sympathy for them and their causes.
Rising gold price in recent days is a good indication of people’s fear of diminishing their purchasing power on a daily basis, which makes them to rush to the gold market to exchange their assets to this precious metal and other robust foreign currencies.
People have learned by experience during the past years that they should not rely much on government officials whose promises, actions and intentions are not always genuine. This stems from lack of transparency and accountability which in turn gives way to rumors and negative information propagated by opposition groups inside and outside the country.
As an odd remedy to this negative development, just recently police forces have staged a coordinated raid to private residences in various quarters in Tehran and other cities for destroying satellite dishes and confiscating related equipment on the rooftops. This is pursuant to a rather old law, almost dormant for several years, forbidding such utensils for households’ uses. This means that people should only watch and listen to official broadcast which are merely tasked to publicizing the outstanding achievements of the sanctified government.
Meanwhile, according to the World Bank predictions, Iran will experience a zero percent economic growth rate in 2011; this actually means a negative growth for the current year if population increase is subtracted from the equation.
In order to move toward achieving the reform plan in its all aspects, the “charming peacock” should open his wide eyes on the realities of domestic affairs as well as of what is going on in the tumultuous region around our country. The government as a whole has to convince people of its good intention and its capacity to cope with adverse impact of economic reform on people’s daily life.
Attracting people’s confidence and avoiding tension with neighbors and the rest of the world is a must for the achievement of economic reform plan that is key factor for peace and stability, development of the country and well-being of the people./
* Ali Asghar Kazemi is professor of Law and -International Relations in Tehran-Iran. Students, researchers, academic institutions, media or any party interested in using all or parts of this article are welcomed to do so with the condition of giving full attribution to the author and the Middle East Academic Forum. ©All Copy Rights Reserved.