Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Iranian Economic Woes Continue

With the upcoming elections in June, many Iranians are hoping that the next president will do more to fix the economic situation that is hurting the vast majority of Iranians.  Because of the international sanctions on Iran as a result of their nuclear weapons and corruption and mismanagement of Iran's oil wealth, the economic situation in Iran continues to deteriorate.  The Ayatollah Khamenei is hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2009 election protest by making sure that loyalists to him are the leading candidates.  If the Iranian people feel that the election has been rigged again and that their economic situation has not improved, they may decide that they should organize a protest to demand change.

We should care about the state of the Iranian economy because if the Iranian people feel that their economic situation is not getting better, they may decide to follow the lead of other countries in the Middle East and start protesting for change.  If the new president promises to fix the economy but does not meet the expectations of the people, we could see the beginning of political violence in Iran.  Many people are upset with the fact that many of the promises made during the 1979 revolution of wealth distribution has not been met.  But because some of the economic woes that Iran is experiencing is a result of sanctions imposed on it by the U.S., the Iranian leadership may just lay all of the blame on the U.S., which may strengthen their power because the people will direct all of their anger and frustration towards the U.S.

Because there is a growing visible wealth disparity between the political elites and the average citizen in Iran, there may be a possibility of political violence.  Much of the economy of Iran is based on the oil and gas industry and is the source of the majority of wealth in Iran.  During the 1979 revolution, promises were made that oil wealth would be more evenly distributed throughout society, but currently the vast majority of oil wealth is concentrated among political elites, who enjoy such luxuries as ice cream with flecked gold ( Erdbrink, 2011) , while the average Iranian is struggling to get by.  Because the elites cannot easily transport all of the oil wealth out of the country, this increases the chances of revolution because the average Iranian knows that the elites cannot just simply remove the wealth out of the country. 

Policy makers should watch what happens during and after the next Iranian elections in June because the possibility of a revolution is high.  Policy makers should try to convince the Iranian people that it is not the West that is the main cause of their economic misery but their own government because it will be easy for the Iranian government to blame their economic condition on the West.  The Iranian people need to be reminded that the current regime has failed to deliver on their promises of a more just society and that they have the ability to fix their own country. 

Here is a video that explains the economic situation in Iran:



 Erdbrink, Thomas. "Iran’s Rich Eat Ice Cream Flecked with Gold as Poor Struggle to Survive." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 07 Aug. 2011. Web. 19 Mar. 2013.

Lennie, Soraya. "Iran Economy Key Election Issue." Aljazeera- Middle East. Aljazeera, n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2013.

1 comment:

  1. I slightly disagree here with some of the points you've made. Oil is not a very mobile resource, although I think what you were implying was the money already produced from the trade of oil, thus it would be shocking to see political elites leave Iran anytime soon as long is there is still profit to be made in Iran from this resource. In contrast, I think the people would have a long, violent fight ahead of them to ensure any political change were to occur. I don't think Western policy makers will be able to have much influence in reminding the Iranian's of the faults of their state. Iran's state is highly critical of the West and has imposed within the country, similar to what North Korea does, a campaign to twist the views among the people against the West. I'm not sure how receptive Iranians would be to the West attempting to come in to this country and ridicule the work of the government, especially as Iran is a highly conservative country and the West is view very much as a promiscuous society of excess in this region. I do agree that a lot of the unrest we've looked at throughout the semester is tied to economics and the inequality and hardships felt among the people. The Iranian state is walking a fine line of pushing the people too far into economic turmoil which could brew unrest.