Cycle of Self-Destruction in Iran
The editorial of Ebtekar focuses on the migration of specialists and capital flight from Iran, urging that many are leaving the country due to the basic problems that they have to grapple with in their daily lives.
One of the biggest challenges facing the country these days is the flight of capital and the migration of specialists from Iran. Some see it as being enamored by the West and some see it as betraying one’s country. Social life, however, is impacted by a series of basic rights including freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of religion and the right to marry and have a family which are essential rights recognized in the UN Declaration of Human Rights. But these rights alone will not create a sense of fulfilment among people.
One of the genuine measures for individuals to feel that they are making progress in life is based on being appreciated for one’s true merits, being free to choose one’s own clothing and lifestyle, social security and economic security. These issues prepare the ground for being happy or sad, successful or unsuccessful, while having a significant impact on an individual’s life choices and prospects for the future.
When individuals experience problems regarding employment, clothing, housing and transport; when they do not have the opportunity to work in the fields they have specialized in; when they see that the law favors those who abuse their power and is against the poor; when they work hard to save some money for retirement but their money loses its value every year because the value of the national currency keeps plunging; when in crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, they are not supported by the government and authorities; then such issues make people feel hopeless and frustrated.
Today, Iranians have lost all hope, so many have decided to migrate from the country. The country’s authorities must know that the government is elected to serve the people. Otherwise, nothing will be achieved and the cycle of social self-destruction repeats itself and becomes larger. In so far as the government does not pay attention to people’s demands, no developments or changes will be possible, which means more and more disasters.
The Necessity of Limiting the Factors That Can Disrupt the Nuclear Negotiations on November 29
The editorial of Arman Melli, written by former lawmaker Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, argues that both Iran and America must adopt a practical approach to revive the nuclear deal and avoid raising new issues if they are after reaching an agreement.
In reviving the nuclear deal (JCPOA), both the American and Iranian sides have wasted time which has harmed the deal. Of course, Iran’s losses were heavier, as its economy is under sanctions. And in the meantime, Iran has also lost other opportunities which has resulted in further pressure on Iranian society.
When Joe Biden took office, it was expected that the issue of reviving the JCPOA would be included in one of his first 20 executive orders, but this did not happen, causing more delay. After resuming the talks to revive the JCPOA, both sides raised new issues which were not related to the nuclear deal.
Israel, some regional actors, and the Republicans in America have tried to create obstacles for reviving the JCPOA, saying that even if a new agreement is reached, it will not be binding on future administrations. In other words, they are trying to make reaching an agreement more difficult.
In Iran too, there have been new issues. If the JCPOA was revived in the previous government in Iran, there would not be any hesitation within the country. The new Iranian government’s hesitation in returning to the nuclear talks has no justification. Nothing can justify so much hesitation on behalf of Ebrahim Raisi’s government, now that the Iranian people are paying so dearly for the sanctions.
Now that the talks are going to be resumed on November 29, if both sides adopt a practical approach, they can set aside their differences and reach a practical agreement, i.e., returning to the JCPOA.
Iran is concerned that the Americans are trying to return to the JCPOA so that they might use the trigger mechanism embedded in the nuclear deal. But despite this, they can reach a common understanding about this issue.
To conclude, if both sides try to raise new issues and allegations, the negotiations will not come to fruition. But if they act like they did at the time when they were signing the JCPOA, and particularly when they were trying to revive it, there is still hope for reaching an agreement. Otherwise, not reaching an agreement about reviving the JCPOA will make the situation more difficult for both Iran and America.
Investment With 50 Percent Inflation Requires Courage
The editorial of Tejarat warns that making new investments in Iran is highly risky, because of the poor economic conditions and high inflation rate.
The labor minister has set the goal of creating 1.85 million jobs by the end of next year with the help of the private sector. When it comes to creating jobs and attracting investment, the participation of the private sector is very significant. It should be noted that effective employment is created by the private sector, not the public sector. Although the public sector is not responsible for creating jobs, it is responsible for providing the infrastructure for businesses and making laws and regulations flexible to create incentives.
To create 1.85 million jobs, we need to provide a full package of facilities, incentives, raw materials, and remove the obstacles ahead of the private sector. Undoubtedly, it is possible to create so many jobs by the end of next year, provided that the government only prepares the ground and oversees the process.
Investment is a significant factor in creating jobs. So, if the government is intent on creating jobs, it must be thinking of encouraging new investment.
Now the question is: who dares to make investments with a 50 percent inflation rate? For creating 1.85 million jobs, the private sector must be in full control and the government’s role must simply be overseeing the process.
High inflation is against employment and investment, and under the current circumstances, making investments has no justification. So, the government must provide for the private sector’s requirements fully to increase the presence of the private sector in this field.
Under these circumstances and given the economic conditions, no one can claim that the government is able to move forward and invest in big civil construction projects, but the private sector can enter this domain and create jobs.
Apart from factors that can create obstacles for job creation such as foreign policy, the inflation rate, high economic risks, there are also temporary risks like coronavirus which threaten existing jobs.
Signs of a Dying Society
The editorial of Ebtekar expresses concern about the widespread sense of hopelessness and indifference felt among the Iranian people regarding whatever happens in society and whatever decisions are made by the Parliament and the government.
Hope is considered as the last resort, be it for individuals or society. In other words, for both society and individuals, hope is the one last thing they have. Individuals might lose everything they have, but still survive on hope and prepare the ground for bringing in changes and improvements. But once that hope is gone, then we can no longer be optimistic about individuals or society as a whole.
There are certain obvious signs of loss of hope that can be identified. One of the most important features of loss of hope is indifference. If individuals in society do not show any appropriate reaction to what is happening in society, such indifference is the sign of the complete loss of hope.
As such, it seems that a large part of Iranian society, particularly after the events in recent years and the way the authorities reacted to these events, is suffering from indifference and hopelessness. Although “hardline ultra-conservatives” in Iran who won both the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2019 and 2021 try to pretend that the Parliament and the government now represent the majority of society, any fair observer will testify that this is not true, and the current Parliament and government do not represent even half of Iranian society.
The way the public reacts to the measures taken by the government and the Parliament clearly portrays the abovementioned indifference and hopelessness. No decision made by the Parliament or the government provokes any apt response in society. In fact, the issues are just being discussed by political elites, journalists and the few remaining social activists, and that is all.
From hacking a prison’s CCTV to the cyberattack against gas stations to Parliament’s plan to protect cyberspace, all should have provoked strong reactions in society and among people. But it has been a while since any major event has elicited a strong reaction in Iranian society.
All Iranians should be concerned about this state of indifference and hopelessness which might culminate in widespread public instability.
Newspaper’s License Revoked Over Depiction of Khamenei’s Hand
Two days after publishing the graphic image of the Iranian supreme leader’s hand on the front page of Kilid (Key) newspaper in relation to an article about the poverty line, Iran’s Press Supervisory Board canceled the newspaper’s license.
On Saturday, Kilid had published an article entitled “Millions of Iranian Households Below the Poverty Line” using the graphic image of a hand drawing the poverty line. Supporters of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei released this image on social media comparing it with Ali Khamenei’s hand and calling it an insult against the supreme leader.
With the deteriorating economic conditions in Iran and the increase in poverty and corruption, criticism against the role of the Iranian supreme leader has increased in recent years. During the nationwide protests of 2017 and 2019, the majority of the protestors’ slogans were against corruption, discrimination, and poverty.
Recently, political activist Abolfazl Ghadyani issued a statement pointing to Khamenei’s role in the economic crisis and asserted that poverty has been imposed on people as a form of systematic violence which has caused the silent deaths of many people and a rise in corruption, addiction and prostitution.
Iranian officials are very sensitive about any criticism against the supreme leader, and recently some political activists who had had criticized Khamenei and called for his removal or resignation from office were arrested and are still imprisoned.
According to Article 27 of Iran’s Press Law, if the Press Supervisory Board deems a case as an insult against the Iranian supreme leader, the license of the newspaper or magazine will be revoked and the license holder and the writer will be referred to the judicial system.
While Kilid’s license has been revoked for publishing a drawing critical of the Iranian supreme leader, Iran’s press freedom rank is 174 out of 180 countries, according to the Reporters Without Borders annual report. Kilid is the first newspaper which has had its license revoked during Ebrahim Raisi’s government.
Former Iranian Intelligence Officer: Ruhollah Zam Exchanged With French Intelligence Officer
Akbar Khoshkushk, a former security officer in Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, says that IRGC intelligence forces implemented the plan for abducting Iranian dissident journalist Ruhollah Zam in Iraq in collaboration with French intelligence.
According to Khushkushk, the French General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) sought the release of a French security officer who had infiltrated ISIS but was “captured by the Resistance Axis in a conflict.” The “Resistance Axis” are Shiite groups allied with Iran in the region.
Khushkushk alleges that French security forces had accompanied Zam to the French embassy in Baghdad, and when he left the embassy, they informed Iran’s security forces.
Ruhollah Zam was living in France. In 2019, the IRGC announced his arrest and transfer to Iran. Zam was executed in 2020.
Zam’s charges included “espionage for the intelligence services” of Israel and France, “collaboration with the hostile country, America” and “participation in gathering classified information with the intention of submitting it to others.”
French authorities have not responded to the remarks and allegations made by the former Iranian security officer so far.
According to Khushkushk, “when Ruhollah Zam entered Iran, a French security officer was transferred from Damascus to Istanbul and handed over to the French there.”
Akbar Khoshkushk himself was one of the suspects in the politically motivated murders of Iranian intellectuals and political activists and was arrested during the investigations.
According to this former intelligence officer, Turkey’s intelligence agency has “always collaborated” with Iran over the past 40 years.
Khushkushk added that Turkey’s intelligence agency had previously handed over Foroud Foladvand, founder of the Kingdom Assembly of Iran, and in return, the Turks demanded that somebody be handed over to them.
He also claimed Habib Chaab, founder and former leader of the Arab Struggle Movement, was abducted by Iranian security forces in Turkey last year and transferred to Iran.
Warning About the “Most Dangerous Inflation Point” in the Past 40 Years
Majid-Reza Hariri, head of the Iran-China Joint Chamber of Commerce, states that Iran’s economy is at its “most dangerous historical point” in the past four decades, and there might be hyperinflation which will lead to the further skyrocketing of prices.
He said that if “we pass the inflation rate of 50 or 60 percent” it will be hard to control inflation, and any decision made in the country must also consider its consequences on increasing or decreasing the inflation rate.
Recently, Iran’s Statistical Center released a new report regarding the inflation rate showing that prices of foods and beverages had been subject to a 61.4 percent increase during the past 12 months compared to the same period last year, which is a new record.
Mohammad Reza Pour-Ebrahimi, head of the Parliament’s Economic Commission, recently said that the policy of allocating forex at the lower government price for importing and distributing essential goods has failed.
In recent months, there have been many warnings about hyperinflation in the country. Massoud Khanssari, head of Tehran’s Chamber of Commerce, had stated in a tweet that with the continuation of the current situation, “the government will face an unprecedented inflation rate in the coming months, which has never been experienced in the country.”
Iranian authorities have also spoken out against soaring prices. Sadegh Larijani, head of the Expediency Discernment Council, said that the country’s escalating inflation was “very concerning,” adding that “skyrocketing prices have taken away many common food items from people’s tables.”
Ahmad Khatami, member of the Guardian Council and Tehran’s mass prayer leader has said that “unchecked prices” are hurting the people “minute by minute,” and called on President Ebrahim Raisi’s government to deal with these problems as soon as possible.
Mohsen Rezaee: We Smuggle and Sell Oil and Bring Dollars Into the Country Clandestinely
Mohsen Rezaee, economic deputy to the Iranian president, has said that to contain the price of the dollar, Iran sells smuggled oil and brings the money into the country. Mashhad’s mass prayer leader Ahmad Alamolhoda, who happens to be President Ebrahim Raisi’s father-in-law, has also pointed to the government’s measures, asserting that there is no need to transfer money through international banks.
Rezaee stated that America has put Iran “under siege” for three years and does not allow it to sell its oil, calling for people to make a “historical decision and break America’s siege.” He asserted that “Iran sells oil by smuggling and brings its revenues into the country clandestinely.”
Meanwhile, Alamolhoda highlighted the obstacles imposed by the United States to prevent Iran from selling its oil, stating that “fortunately, because of this government’s courage, the norm has been breaking the sanctions, and we can sell our oil to the world and alleviate the pressure on our own people.”
He continued that the United States’ last tool was “not allowing us to transfer our money through international banks, but because of this government’s measures, we do not need to transfer our money through international banks.”
With Joe Biden taking office in America and with talks for reviving the nuclear deal, it was expected that Iran’s oil would be sold in global markets. But after six rounds of talks, the negotiations were stalled, and Rouhani’s government handed over the nuclear file to Raisi’s government. Now, after five months, the nuclear talks are going to be resumed on November 29.