Has the Tie Between the Dollar and People’s Livelihoods Been Severed?
The editorial of Aftab Yazd underscores that the Raisi government’s belief that ending the officially subsidized rate for the dollar would improve living conditions has proved to be incorrect.
One of the key slogans of the head of the 13th government, Ebrahim Raisi, during his presidential election campaign was not tying people’s financial conditions to the price of the dollar. Now, six months after this government has taken office, has this slogan been realized? The answer is no. All economic activities are still highly vulnerable to fluctuations in the forex market.
It must be admitted that this slogan was not backed by any plan or policy, which is why there has been only some random, isolated measures here and there. This can be easily gathered from officials’ remarks. They say that the government moved quickly to regulate the prices of certain essential goods. But the problem is that when the price of a certain item is brought under control, the price of another item skyrockets. The government is therefore caught in a vicious cycle with regard to regulating prices.
This is the process we have witnessed in the past six months, and the government has been fully grappling with this economic issue. Perhaps Raisi’s government does have some economic plans, but this struggle to contain prices is his government’s first and foremost concern. That the government is in a hurry to reach an agreement in the Vienna nuclear talks indicates the same thing.
No government or economist can deny the correlation between the price of the dollar and the economy. There is no doubt that if any government in Iran could bring order to the economy without paying attention to the value of the national currency and the price of forex, it would not rely on bargaining with the West. Raisi’s government has realized that it is impossible to cut off the tie between people’s financial conditions and the price of the dollar.
Ifs and Buts of Direct Negotiations With America
The editorial of Arman Melli argues that holding talks with America is just a tool, not the holy grail, for providing for Iran’s national interests, and it must be seen accordingly.
There is news of direct negotiations between Iran and America in Germany. But if we look at it from a deeper viewpoint, Iran’s negotiations with America is not the main issue. Because negotiations represent a tool which must be used for realizing national interests at the right time.
In this regard, diplomatic records including historical relations, treaties and agreements with the other side must be assessed. In addition, the other issue that must be considered is to what extent direct talks with America can solve the country’s problems. Of course, it is up to senior Iranian officials to make such decisions, as they have access to confidential information and facts.
Direct negotiations with America, however, should not cast its shadow on the main issue. Negotiations alone is not a sacred matter, because it is a tool and tools are not sacred. What is sacred and important is national interest. So, if direct talks with America is in line with national interests, it must be undertaken; otherwise, it is betraying Iran’s national interests.
During the former government, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif broke the record of direct talks with America, but we can see now that the number of sanctions is more than ever, despite the direct negotiations. So, direct negotiations by itself is not the main issue, meaning that direct talks with America does not necessarily mean resolving the issues.
Direct negotiations with America can impact the lifting of sanctions and reaching an agreement can have positive effects on the market. But if talks are held for some time and sanctions are not lifted, or if sanctions are lifted but reimposed on some pretext such as Iran’s missile program or regional influence, we can be sure it will have an even more devastating impact on the country.
The government must try to resolve the country’s economic issues without paying attention to changes and developments in the nuclear deal. If Iran ties resolving its issues to the nuclear deal, it will certainly experience strong fluctuations in economy.
Each Citizen Is a Ruler!
The editorial of Arman Melli stresses the fact that rulers and authorities in Iran must adapt to Iranian citizens’ perceptions of the world today and work to fulfil people’s wishes and desires.
When, over time, a society suffers from social, cultural, economic, and political frustration, it becomes sad, depressed, and angry. This anger manifests itself in different ways in families and society. The important point is that today the Iranian people consider themselves as citizens of the world because of their access to technology and their clearer understanding of the world.
Today, societies are impacted by emerging social, cultural, and economic phenomena. In other words, today people adopt a universal language. Accordingly, they are witnessing all sorts of incidents. As such, authorities must be elected in accordance with their countries’ realities.
Therefore, if authorities have no understanding of social realities, they will take unsatisfactory and inappropriate measures to compensate for their country’s social decline. In today’s world, only those rulers who possess a strong understanding of today’s rapidly changing world can meet the desired objectives of their countries.
Compassionate leaders who work to serve human development have a good grasp of the world and people today. In today’s world, rulers are the servants of society, more like catalysts that will help their societies achieve their goals.
Iranian society is no exception to this rule as it remains deeply impacted by international developments. The majority of Iranians look at everything with doubt and suspicion and are brave enough to reject the injustices imposed on them. Now, the question is: under these circumstances, will the majority of Iranian citizens who are aware of their power and their rights allow their rulers to decide for them?
Most Iranian people have realized that the current circumstances in Iran are indefensible, and expect reforms to be implemented based on their views. Each citizen considers himself or herself a ruler and wants to use his or her capacity to influence decisions. Authorities should not underestimate the power of the public when making decisions.
Poor Economic Conditions and the Increase in Theft
In response to a report regarding an increase in the number of children who commit theft in Iran, the editorial of Arman Melli argues that it is only natural to see such a rise when the economic conditions in the country keep deteriorating.
In any society, one of the issues threatening people’s security is a rise in crime. One of these crimes is theft which undermines security within society. Studying different societies demonstrates that theft is one of the oldest crimes in the world. One of the factors that must be mentioned is the link between economic conditions and theft.
It is necessary to underscore that usually crimes and social problems do not have only one cause, which means that we cannot identify only one factor as the sole cause of theft. But certain factors, including poverty, can have a more significant role in the increase in these crimes.
Although we cannot say that all poor people are criminals and thieves, we cannot deny the fact that poverty is one of the issues that not only paves the way for theft, but can also result in its increase.
Naturally, poor economic conditions force people to resort to crime, particularly theft as they cannot balance their incomes and expenses. One of the ways in which people can cover the gap in their incomes and expenses is through stealing other people’s assets or taking them by force.
A quick look at judicial cases illustrates the rising trend of theft in society. This indicates that with the deterioration in economic conditions, we must expect a rise in thefts, particularly petty ones.
Poor children who live in deprived areas are usually recruited for committing theft. So, if there is an increase in the number of children committing such crimes, that is because certain people exploit them for perpetrating these crimes.
It is no use denying the impact of social and economic conditions on the increase or decrease in theft. When people suffer from certain deprivations, it can result in an increase in theft.
The truth is that even poor families that receive help from charity organizations cannot pay for their expenses, which is why we are witnessing an increase in the number of thefts and other crimes because of poor economic conditions.
Iranian FM: We Are in a Hurry to Reach a Good Agreement
For Iran, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian urges that it is better if an agreement is reached and sanctions are lifted now rather than later, so Iran is in a hurry to reach an agreement.
In a press conference held with his Irish counterpart, Abdollahian added that “we think it is possible to reach a good agreement.”
It has been roughly 10 months since Biden administration officials commenced indirect negotiations with the Iranian delegation, along with the European Troika, China and Russia, for reviving the nuclear deal (JCPOA), while Iran has advanced its nuclear activities in the meantime.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters recently that negotiations with Iran have reached an urgent point and if no agreement is reached in the coming weeks, returning to the nuclear deal with Iran will be impossible.
Iran insists on lifting sanctions as its first pre-condition for reviving the JCPOA; meanwhile, in recent days, two senior US senators have proposed a bill to the US Senate for lifting the main sanctions against the Iranian republic on the condition that Iran will stop enriching uranium.
As for the ongoing talks for reviving the JCPOA, there is contradictory news. In a recent tweet, Russian senior representative in the nuclear talks Mikhail Ulyanov described the ongoing talks as “positive,” but Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s National Security Council, openly admitted that negotiations are getting tougher and tougher.
Later, in a phone call with EU Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian underscored that Iran will not step down from its red lines, while blaming the West for the lack of serious will to reach a good and credible agreement in Vienna, which has led to the unnecessary continuation of talks.
11 Years of House Arrest of Leaders of the Green Movement; “Certain Entity Against Releasing Them” Says Karoubi’s Son
For 11 years, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karoubi have been under house arrest without being tried in any court.
Zahra Mousavi, daughter of Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard, released photos of her parents under house arrest on her Instagram page, stating that the house arrest which aims at isolating and distancing her parents from society and depriving them of their legal rights has been continuing for 11 years.
In the 2009 presidential election, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner, but Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, the other two candidates, rejected the result of the election, calling it rigged with the “engineering of votes.”
In 2010, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karoubi were put under house arrest following their call for supporters to stand in solidarity with the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt and the protests in Syria.
Meanwhile, Mehdi Karoubi’s son says that although many public bodies have reached the conclusion that the house arrest must come to an end, there is a “particular entity” that is against lifting the house arrest. Hossein Karoubi did not specify the name of this entity.
Pointing out that his 85-year-old father has had eight surgical operations, Karoubi’s son asserted that last year his father was diagnosed with osteoporosis which has made him very physically weak.
In addition, on the anniversary of their house arrest, former MP Ali Motahari tweeted that although the first few months of house arrest might have had some legal justification for managing the crisis, “its continuation has been against many articles of the Constitution.”
According to Motahari, punishing these people without hearing their defense in a public court and issuing a legal verdict has no legal standing.
Many observers think that the reason why the leaders of the Green Movement have been under house arrest for 11 years is Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s animus toward them, as well as the security concerns regarding this issue.
Coronavirus Cases on the Rise Among Political Prisoners Amid Officials’ Negligence
Soheila Hejab, political prisoner in Kermanshah province, has been infected with COVID-19. In addition, 13 other prisoners in the women’s ward of the same prison have contracted the disease.
While positive cases are surging in this prison, its infirmary is shut down due to the lack of physicians. Not to mention that prison officials do not issue authorizations for sick prisoners to be transferred to hospital unless they are in critical condition.
Soheila Hejab is a women’s rights activist opposed to the compulsory veil. She was first arrested by security forces two years ago and held in Tehran’s Evin prison. Hejab was released after nine months on a 3 billion toman bail.
The 28th branch of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, however, later sentenced Hejab to five years of discretionary imprisonment on several charges, including “dissemination of propaganda against the establishment, assembly and collusion, influencing public opinion to create chaos and establishing an illegal group.”
Hejab was arrested in June 2021 after her sentence was confirmed by the 36th branch of Tehran’s Appeal Court. She was initially kept in Gharchak prison in the city of Varamin but after a while was transferred to Sanandaj prison and then to a jail in Kermanshah.
There were many reports about her persecution in prison which were extensively published on social media.
A large number of prisoners of conscience have died of COVID-19 because of the negligence of prison officials. Human rights organizations report that prison officials in Iran deliberately deny prisoners access to medication and treatment.
Recently, poet and movie director Baktash Abtin lost his life after contracting coronavirus in jail due to not receiving treatment on time.
Over 100 Academics Object to the Wrongful Sacking of University Professors in Iran
In a letter, several Iranian academics from all over the world have called the sacking of professors from Iran’s universities as a sign of the “intensification of the crackdown” in the Iranian republic, calling for the immediate reinstatement of the sacked professors.
The letter was issued while in recent weeks, reports of the sacking of at least three academics in Iran went viral.
According to these reports, Mohammad Fazeli, sociologist and professor at Shahid Beheshti University, Arash Abazari, philosophy professor at Sharif University, and Reza Omidi, professor at Tehran University and member of the board of Iranian Sociologists Association, were fired.
The letter, signed by 105 Iranian academics from some of the most acclaimed universities, urges that given the academic records of the dismissed professors, these measures cannot have any academic justifications.
The letter also expresses concern over the increase in the drain brain and the decrease in the number of qualified professors in Iranian universities, seeing it as an outcome of imposing a certain political view over society.
Furthermore, Iran International news agency has received information indicating that in the past year 325 academics have been dismissed, while 1,500 other professors are going to be sacked.
This information shows that 40 academics have been sacked in Kurdistan Province, and it is more common to fire academics in provinces with religious and ethnic minorities.
Sacking university professors for political purposes has a long history since the beginning of the establishment of the Iranian republic.
The so-called “cultural revolution” from 1980 to 1983 was the most important example of this trend in which hundreds of university professors and students were fired.
Moreover, during the tenure of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, sacking students and professors escalated and many academics were fired on political grounds.
New cases of sacking professors in recent weeks indicate the possible adoption of the same policy during Ebrahim Raisi’s government.