Poverty and Decline in Diplomacy
The editorial of Setareh Sobh maintains that the flawed domestic and international policies of the Iranian government have made the Iranian people poorer.
The so-called revolutionary Parliament started working in 2020 and Ebrahim Raisi’s government took office in 2021. In the election for the 11th Parliament, there was a low turnout of 42.57 percent, while in the presidential election, less than 50 percent of eligible Iranians participated. So, two branches of the establishment have started working on the basis of a minimum voter turnout in the elections. In election campaigns the candidates slammed previous officials while promising to provide for people’s livelihood, cutting inflation to half and even bringing it down to a single digit, etc.
Now, two years after the Parliament started its work and 10 months after the government took office, their slogans have not been realized, and the country’s conditions have deteriorated. Today, teachers, workers and others have decreased their demands to the minimum, demanding only bread, water, and air.
“Ultra-conservative principlists” welcomed the hegemony of power in Iran, thinking that it might be more useful and efficient for people. But these days, what the Iranian people see contradicts the “principlists’” claim, because they not only see skyrocketing prices in the market, but also the government’s inability to effectively oversee organizations for controlling prices.
Instead of resolving the issues, officials keep shouting slogans, making promises and issuing orders which make conditions worse. Perhaps, if they keep silent, conditions might improve.
The main cause of these problems is the mismanagement of the country, both domestically and internationally. The IAEA Board of Governors recently issued a resolution against Iran. It seems that if Iran cannot meet the IAEA ‘s requirements by September, another resolution will be issued against Iran and Iran’s nuclear case will be referred to the UN Security Council. In future, three European countries that are members of the nuclear deal (JCPOA) will activate the “trigger mechanism” provision in the deal. If so, the six resolutions by the UN Security Council, which were rendered ineffective by Resolution 2231, will resume.
Today, the Iranian people only demand bread, water and air from the establishment, and nothing else. This is because people feel poorer by the day.
Iranian diplomats must be aware of the possibility that Putin who is now trapped in Ukraine might push the United States and Israel to engage militarily with Iran so that he can find a way out of Ukraine.
Some Thoughts on the Resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors
The editorial of Arman Melli focuses on the resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors against Iran and its possible consequences.
The resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors underscored that Iran must cooperate more closely with the agency and provide answers to the agency’s questions.
Iran’s reaction to the resolution went beyond expectations, as the United States and the European countries did not think Iran would react in this way: new IR-6 centrifuges will be installed and activated and all the IAEA’s cameras will stop working which means that the agency will have no access to Iran’s nuclear sites.
This is a sensitive issue. The Israeli prime minister went to the UAE unexpectedly, Saudi Arabia took a harsh stance in this regard, and the Europeans too issued a statement saying they did not want this to happen, while the United States also announced a similar position. These reactions indicate that the issue has become very sensitive for the West, and now they are concerned about how to access Iran’s nuclear sites and monitor the level of Iran’s uranium enrichment.
All these show the sensitivity of the issue, indicating that it has somehow become unmanageable. With Oman and Qatar seriously increasing activities in this regard, it seems that they too are not interested in making this issue more complicated than it has already become.
It seems that if negotiations are held through intermediaries such as Qatar or Oman, it can alleviate the seriousness of the existing issues. Meanwhile, Iran can continue what it has already started until reaching the desired conclusion.
Efforts to Stop Issuing Resolutions Against Iran by the IAEA Board of Governors
The editorial of Setareh Sobh explains how the IAEA Board of Governors resolution is going to impact the Iranian people and the country’s economy, asking the government to reach an agreement over the nuclear issue immediately.
By looking at the path of Iran’s nuclear case and the JCPOA (nuclear deal), one can see how Iran has missed several opportunities in this regard. From Khatami’s government to Ahmadinejad’s, Rouhani’s and Raisi’s, the right path has never been taken.
Those who are against the JCPOA in the international arena, including Israel which has a considerable lobby in Europe and America, as well as those who profit from the sanctions in Iran, have always been after finding a way to thwart the JCOPA.
Unfortunately, the government has acted in a way which gives an excuse to foreign adversaries of the JCPOA. Now a resolution is passed against Iran which makes the Iranian people worried about the JCPOA, as they all know how any news regarding the JCPOA has a negative or positive impact on Iranian markets.
Now the negative news has already impacted Iran’s capital market, putting at risk people’s money and livelihood. The current conditions indicate the significance of what Rouhani’s government had done by rendering ineffective six UN resolutions against Iran.
The opponents of the JCPOA within Iran have given an excuse to the West and the other parties in the negotiations which will probably take us back to where Iran was before the JCPOA was signed.
Those who are engaged in the nuclear talks on behalf of Iran are weak and cannot move the talks forward. No firm answer to the resolution against Iran should be costly for the Iranian people and the country’s economy. Iran had the opportunity to bring the nuclear talks to fruition because of the efforts of former Foreign Minister Zarif and his team.
Today, some are after disrupting the talks. If they want what is best for Iran, they must find a way to reach an agreement and help the country overcome so much volatility.
Negative news of pulling out of the nuclear deal or the IAEA Board of Governors issuing resolutions against Iran and talks of Iran exiting the NPT disrupt the market in Iran and have a negative impact on people’s lives, especially the poor.
If expediency plays a role in policymaking, today it is expedient for the people and the country to reach an agreement over the nuclear deal.
Mr. Raisi, You Are the Government, Not Us!
The editorial of Akhbar Sanat underscores that Iranian officials, including President Raisi, must stop acting as if other people are in charge, as they themselves are the ones who should take the necessary measures to address the country’s problems.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has stated that “the government must take measures to regulate rent levels, and shouldn’t allow those involved in the housing market to cause fluctuations which make people worried.”
When Hassan Rouhani was the president and Raisi was head of Iran’s judicial branch, he kept addressing the government in his speeches about what it should or should not do. Now that he has become president, why is he still addressing the government? Is he not himself the government?
Mr. Raisi, you are the president and can order whatever you want, and your ministers will implement it or create taskforces for resolving housing problems.
Iranian officials are used to being in a position of demanding. It seems that they have forgotten that they are the ones who should realize these demands. Who should bring about order to the disarrayed housing market in Iran? Well, the president and his government!
Not only the president but also the lawmakers in the previous and current Parliaments keep whining instead of making policy decisions! If they think there is a problem, they should pass legislation and make the government enforce it.
They are the ones who are in charge, not the people! They are the ones who should run the country, not the people! Why do people elect officials? To resolve issues and take the country toward development. For example, if a city suffers from air pollution, officials must find a solution for it. When prices are skyrocketing, the authorities must find a solution for it. When unemployment has become families’ main concern, public officials must find a solution for it.
But in Iran, officials are elected to talk and whine like the rest of the people, complain about the shortcomings, and put the blame on others!
Pensioners, Marketeers Protest in Many Cities; Reza Pahlavi Calls for Support
Citizens’ reports on social media show groups of pensioners of the Social Security Organization of Iran holding protests in many cities of Iran including Kermanshah, Ahvaz, Isfahan, Arak, Sari, Bandar Abbas, Mashhad, Borujerd, Ardebil, Shiraz, and Tehran.
The videos show protesters chanting slogans against Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his government such as “Death to the incompetent government!” and “Death to Raisi!”
There are also reports about security forces’ crackdown on protesters in some cities, including in Tehran where a number of male and female pensioners were beaten and arrested.
The new round of pensioners’ protests started recently when the government announced only a 10 percent increase in the salaries of pensioners who receive more than the minimum wage.
The protesters asserted that in the current year they were supposed to receive a 38 percent increase, but that legislation was rejected and now their salaries are going to increase by only 10 percent, which is not proportionate with the galloping inflation rate.
These gatherings in which protesters chant slogans against the Iranian president and the supreme leader directly are held while Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, in his recent speech, attributed the popular protests to the “enemies,” claiming that everyone in the country is happy with the government and the Iranian republic.
There were also reports of marketeers’ protests in many cities of Iran including Arak, Kazeroon, Minab and Isfahan because of the increase in taxation for the private sector.
In recent days, marketeers and businesspeople in Tehran and Kazeroon held protests and closed their shops.
In the city of Kazeroon, marketeers chanted, “Reza Shah, rest in peace!” and in the city of Minab they shouted, “We don’t want incompetent officials!”
In the meantime, Reza Pahlavi, son of Iran’s former shah, called for support for the pensioners’ protests, asking people to join them.
Retweeting a clip from these protests, Reza Pahlavi underscored that in recent years the scarcity of pension funds has been one of his concerns, attributing this issue to the “incompetence and theft in Iran.”
Pahlavi urged that now that there is no accountable government in Iran, people must support the pensioners’ protests as “only by unity we can take Iran’s storm-ridden ship to the safe coast of development and freedom.”
Labor Minister Resigns
While union protests are escalating and prices are soaring, Iranian Labor Minister Hojatollah Abdoulmaleki resigned. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi accepted his resignation.
Abdoulmaleki is the first minister to resign from Ebrahim Raisi’s cabinet which took office less than a year ago. He has stated that the reason for his resignation was to increase “coordination” within the government.
Currently, Mohammad Hadi Zahedi Vafa is the acting labor minister.
Recently, pensioners had called for the resignation of Hojatollah Abdoulmaleki in their widespread protests and chanted harsh slogans against the government and the president.
The 10 percent increase in pensions triggered a new round of protests. Labor organizations in Iran described this as a violation of the decision made by the Supreme Labor Council which stipulated a 38 percent increase – a decision which was approved by Hojatollah Abdoulmaleki.
Prior to this, Hojatollah Abdoulmaleki had made populist remarks about the possibility of creating jobs in Iran. On a television program, he had also bragged about Iranian youths’ ability to manufacture an “Iranian Lamborghini.”
Hojatollah Abdoulmaleki is known as one of the proponents of the so-called “resistance economy,” a term coined by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to counter the international economic sanctions on Iran.
Raisi’s government claims that it is performing an “economic surgery” in Iran, which includes eliminating subsidies on basic goods. These measures have triggered widespread union and popular protests all over the country, compelling the government to pay cash subsidies to people to compensate for its measures.
Hojatollah Abdoulmaleki resigned while there was already speculation about changes in the Iranian government following the increase in prices and the escalation in criticisms and protests.
Economists Warn Raisi: Insisting on Eliminating Subsidies Will Push People to Limit
In a letter, 61 economists within Iran gave an assessment of the economic policies of Ebrahim Raisi’s government, the so-called “economic surgery and reform,” warning against the negative consequences of these policies.
The letter reads, “We warn the statesmen that the conditions in the county are so fragile, and insisting on eliminating the subsidies in these bleak times will push the people to the limit.”
These economists assert that this economic approach “will put the establishment and the government against the people” – a confrontation that can be very costly for both sides.
The signatories of the letter urge that there have been multiple shocks and heightening economic instability caused by policymakers – called “economic surgery and reform” and “making tough economic decisions” – without considering the extensive fallout of such decisions.
Earlier, Ebrahim Raisi’s government issued an order to cut the subsidies on flour which resulted in the skyrocketing of prices of flour-based products. After the increase in prices of bread and multiple other food products, widespread protests took place in a number of cities of Khuzestan Province and other cities of Iran.
The letter’s signatories maintain that the root of Iran’s economic problems is political, and the first step for finding a way out of this “tough situation” is “creating fundamental change in foreign policy and the second step is changing the manner of governance within the country.”
The letter reads that without reviving the nuclear deal and overcoming the limits imposed on the Iranian banking system by the FATF, one can talk neither of economic stability in Iran, nor of inexpensive access to global markets.
Soaring prices have triggered street protests. Security and law-enforcement forces have brutally confronted the protesters. In the new round of crackdowns on protests, five individuals were reportedly killed.
Forex Price Soars: Dollar Reaches New Record of 33,000 Tomans
The rate of the dollar kept mounting, reaching a historical record of 33,000 tomans per dollar.
In the past three months, Iran’s currency has lost 25 percent of its value against the US dollar, while in the past 43 years, the value of the dollar has increased 3,200 times against the Iranian currency.
Iranian officials claim that there has been a considerable increase in forex revenues, while there has also been an increase in the oil price which has almost doubled compared to the same period last year. Moreover, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated a 50 percent increase in Iran’s oil and non-oil exports in the current year.
Iranian officials, however, have not explained why despite the increase in the country’s exports, the Iranian currency is rapidly losing its value.
In relation to the increase in the dollar’s price, Tehran’s Economic Security Police announced the arrest of 31 individuals involved in the so-called “tomorrow transactions.”
“Tomorrow transactions refer to any currency or gold transactions in which dollars and gold are delivered the day after the transaction is made. Those active in this market are not in possession of gold or currency themselves, and they simply pay the price differential.
In recent years, some experts and Central Bank of Iran officials have blamed “tomorrow transactions” for destabilizing the market.
Soharb Bahrami, deputy commander of the Economic Security Police, said multiple individuals active in this market have been identified, urging that the police will decisively confront these people for disrupting the economic order.
Earlier, the Tehran Economic Security Police announced the arrest of 16 individuals involved in “tomorrow transactions.”
As usual, those involved in “tomorrow transactions” are arrested after currency prices soar in the market. The critics, nonetheless, maintain that these measures are useless, as the main cause of the increase in the price of the dollar and gold is the government’s policies.