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Currency in Commotion

by ALI CHENAR in Tehran

04 Oct 2010 22:2130 Comments
ALeqM5iaumoWeOcVocva3ns8zoO5quP3aQ.jpgRegime pledges to rein in bucking rial, but no major fix to official overvaluation.

[ business ] The Iranian currency market is a volatile arena these days. The Iranian rial has been losing value while the U.S. dollar, euro, and British pound have all been gaining. Last Thursday, the rial recouped some of its lost worth and the Iranian working week ended with one U.S. dollar valued at 11,000 rials in the market and 10,198 rials according to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). As of Monday, the market value was around 10,900 rials, not far from the CBI's short-term target of 10,700. Still, many observers agree that the market is far from stabilized. Their consensus ends and disagreement on the causes of the recent dive begins. Some blame sanctions, others believe the rial is overvalued, and a few hold that the government is simulating the consequences of a devaluation of the rial. "But on the other hand..." The one-armed economist for whom former U.S. President Harry Truman searched in vain has yet to turn up in Iran either.

During the past decade, the Iranian economy has experienced a relatively stable currency market, with the rial pegged to the U.S. dollar and demonstrating little variation. The growth in oil revenues and government foreign currency reserves has helped the CBI to keep the market under control. Surprisingly, despite the global financial crisis and the threat of worldwide depression, the exchange rate changed little in Iran and the market remained stable. Was this helpful for the Iranian economy?

It does not seem so. The pegging system kept the exchange rate fixed and did not permit Iran's markets to reflect global events. The outcome was disastrous for the Iranian industrial and manufacturing sectors as the rial became stronger and artificially more expensive. Imports soared. According to the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Authority (IRICA) website, in 2007 alone, 48 billion dollars worth of goods were imported, 11 billion of that from the United Arab Emirates. (IRICA has not made public import statistics for the years since 2007.) This represents more than a doubling of imports in a half-decade. Only five years earlier, according to the same source, the official import value came to just 22 billion dollars.

And even the 48 billion-dollar figure is an underestimation. It is common knowledge that a large portion of imported goods enter the country via unofficial routes and are not registered. Even the conservative, pro-regime newspapers complain of the rampant growth of unregulated imports. In early September, Aftab reported that 750,000 farmers had lost their jobs in the last five years due to the drastic import rise.

When President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's administration announced its decision to eliminate price subsidies for staple commodities, critics of the government were quick to point out that such a step would be disastrous without a complementary adjustment of the import-favoring exchange rate. Many Iranian economists called for a devaluation of the rial so domestic producers would be able to survive the liberalization period. Ahmadinejad has turned a deaf ear to the economists' advice.

It is true that in Iran the exchange rate is not just an economic index, but also a matter of national pride. Governments boast of stability in the currency market as a sign of their success. Devaluation is more than an economic act, it is a matter of high politics involving the prestige and popularity of the regime. Those familiar with the history of the Iranian economy will recall the difficulties faced by previous administrations, such as that of President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in the early 1990s, in dealing with the nation's currency market.

Like all other economic matters, the exchange rate is also an issue of interests. A strong rial backed by oil revenues has made the import business a lucrative one for many politically well-connected concerns. They will hardly welcome a devaluation of the rial in the name of national pride. The government's reluctance to allow the official value of the rial to better reflect the state of the market may result more from the power struggle between the importers' and exporters' respective lobbying efforts than inveterately poor economic judgment.

The international economic sanctions that have been imposed on Iran may have played the triggering role in this episode -- specifically, in how they have affected transactions with the UAE, Iran's most significant trade partner and home to the largest number of Iranian businesses abroad. A number of businesses exchange their dollars in the UAE for rials in Tehran, and the timing of banking procedures is vital in keeping this segment of the market stable. Sanctions have discouraged several UAE-sited banks from working with Iranian businesses. An interruption in normal banking processes was inevitable. When the UAE restricted the Dubai branch of Iran's Bank Saderat, a major nexus of rial transactions, from making such wire transfers last week, there was a sudden increase in demand for domestic sources of hard currency, the supply of which was further disrupted by the strikes in the Tehran bazaar. Jewelers in the bazaar usually buy and sell both gold coins and hard currency. Their strike meant a further constriction of exchange venues. The result was a diving rial.

It seems the increased volatility alarmed many decision makers within the Iranian regime. The CBI rallied to stabilize gold as well as currency by raising the flow of both into the market. Government officials have vowed to bring the market exchange rate down to 10,600 rials per U.S. dollar. The coming weeks will prove the feasibility of the target, which seems to be politically motivated and at the same time insensitive to the realities of the national economy. Should liberalization come, this would be a rate very difficult to maintain.

Copyright © 2010 Tehran Bureau

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30 Comments

National pride!!!! Remember those days when $1 was 70 Rials?

Ahvaz / October 5, 2010 4:38 AM

The photo says it all. The 100-dollar bill features the brilliant statesmen, inventor, and diplomat Benjamin Franklin, whereas our 10,000-rial bill features the dumb mullah and bloodthirsty tyrant Khomeini. We shouldn't expect anything more until the day that our currency features some of the best that Iran has had to offer the world. People like Ferdousi, Khayyam and Avecinna.

"Economics is for donkeys."
Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ruhollah Khomeini (Emam-e Rahel (Reh))

Cy / October 5, 2010 10:35 AM

So Cy, you'd be happier with an image of Abū ‘Alī al-Ḥusayn ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sīnā on the 10,000 rial note? Sorry, but Saddam beat us to it, LOL.

But hey, at least the Iranians don't have an image of the leader responsible for a holocaust directed against a minority people on any of their notes (US twenty dollar bill).

Ahvaz, I remember those days well. The streets of Tehran were choked full of women in chadors, babes in hand, begging for chump change just to get by.

Pirouz / October 6, 2010 6:16 AM

Pirouz

re $20 Bill - no you are yet again wrong - khomeini is responsible for the murder (in your words "holocaust") of at least tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Iranians, and in the late 20th century compared to Jacksons actions in the 19th century. HE IS TRULY A CRIMINAL WHO TOOK IRAN BACK TO THE DARK AGES.

re poverty - Iran is economically more backward now than it was in the 70s. This has been the case throughout the 31 year nightmare that is the islamist kleptocracy that has raped Iran.

Agha Irani / October 6, 2010 11:28 AM

Afga Irani, why don't people like you ever argue with any facts to back your statement?

There are innumerous economic facts that show Iran is a stronger economical position than it was before the revolution. Literacy & standard of living for the general population has gone up. Whether you like the IRI or not, the numbers show that in general people are actually better off.

M.Ali / October 6, 2010 12:46 PM

Here is an example:

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/iran/gdp-per-capita-us-dollar-wb-data.html

M. Ali / October 6, 2010 1:05 PM

Pirouz, I was not aware that Baathist Iraq happened to use Ibn Sina's (Avicenna) image on one of their notes along with all of the other notes carrying Saddam's image. Even if so the primary reason behind the enormous devastation that was brought to Iraq is not symbolised by the image of the Pesian genius that was Avicenna. The reason was Saddam. This, as in our case, is symbolised by the image of a brutal dictator splattered across most of a country's currency. My point was that our problems are symbolised by Khomeini's image being all over the country's notes: economic mismanagement, a devastating brain drain, isolation from the global financial system, sanctions, etc.

"Economics is for donkeys."
Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ruhollah Khomeini (Emam-e Rahel (Reh))

Cy / October 6, 2010 4:40 PM

M. Ali,

Unless you haven't noticed the idea of being a DEVELOPING country is that things are supposed to get better with time! It is natural that after 30 years a country like Iran is going to have better literacy rates and a better standard of living for the general population. I suppose you expect Iranian literacy rates to go down and the size of the economy to shrink after 30 years of selling oil as one of the most energy rich countries on the planet. The question is how do we compare today with countries that were in the same position as we were 31 years ago. Have we met expected targets? Are we where we should be? Are we fulfilling our potential as a rich and beautiful country with a talented population? I think the overwhelming consensus is that Iran has drastically underperformed under the Islamic Republic.

Cy / October 6, 2010 5:16 PM

M. Ali,

I've had this discussion before usually with islamists who seek to defend this shameful regime.

Here are some facts to back my statement since you seem to be unaware of the obvious:

1. I refer you to this paper:-

http://ideas.repec.org/a/taf/jitecd/v18y2009i2p275-295.html

The economic performance of Iran declined after the revolution and has not recovered.

2. http://www.irannewsdigest.com/2010/06/18/graph-of-iran-versus-south-korea-and-turkey/

The graph you produced means little by itself - as Cy points out almost the whole world has higher living standards today than 30 years ago but the relative economic productivity of Iran declined compared to Turkey and S. Korea - two countries it was ahead of pre-79. This is undoubtedly due to the incompetence of the islamist regime.

These are just two - there are a lot more.

There is no doubt that literacy has improved but again this is seen throughout most of the world and who is to say this improvement would not have happened under the pre-revolutionary regime?

Agha Irani / October 6, 2010 9:11 PM

I do not know what to day, the comments are totally irrelevant to this article. Here is an article with some interesting points and then these comments. People just want to empty their anger.
@ Cy, things do not get better in developing countries naturally with time. They get better because people put effort, energy and understanding into solving their problems and bypassing barriers. There is a consensus that I.R. Iran did very well in health and fighting illiteracy in the region. Iran's system of health network built of "health homes" across the country where the nurses and midwives from local populace work is being adopted for Afghanistan. I think "poor judgement" is not limited only to Iranian government. Please less emotion, more commotion.

Behzad / October 7, 2010 1:49 AM

Behzad,

I never disputed Iran's successes in improving health services and increasing literacy rates since the revolution. Other good things have happened as well, like an improvement in the infrastructure of small towns and villages across the country. However, the idea that some signs of development such as an increase in the size of Iran's economy, say, were not necessarily to be expected after 30 years and that the regime deserves to be congratulated for it is simply nonesense. Just consider the amount of revenue the regime has generated by selling crude oil alone. The key is to compare the country's economic performance during this period with other countries that were in the same position as we were 31 years ago. One has to consider the country's performance relative to its potential. Many of the main problems of Iran's economy are directly caused by the regime. These include general economic mismanagement and incompetence, a devastating brain drain, capital flight, an inhospitable investment environment, isolation from the global financial system, sanctions, etc. I give full credit for Iran's impressive work on improving literacy in the early years of the revolution. But today our literacy rate is not that far ahead of the rates of our neighbours to the west. You seem to have very low standards. In 2008 we ranked 87th among 139 countires in the world. My point is it was something that had to be done and it was. In any case, how is that relevent to this article?

Cy / October 7, 2010 3:50 AM

Cy / October 6, 2010 4:40 PM writes:

"...the primary reason behind the enormous devastation that was brought to Iraq is not symbolised by the image of the Pesian genius that was Avicenna. The reason was Saddam."

First, on topic to the article!
As far as foreign investors that still invest in Iran are concerned, it seems like those hard working smart Iranians have managed to handle this situation to the satisfaction of the global investors according to international financial news reports.

Next, since you brought it up in your post I referenced above...

I am not sure what you meant, so please take a moment and clarify your thought.

Do you mean to say that the reason for Iraq's devastation is Saddam, who was a CIA recruit that murdered members of the ruling government (with the approval of his CIA handlers) so that he can come to power in order to become a puppet for the policies that were to be imposed on the region, such as the imposed war with its neighbor Iran and the use of chemical weapons supplied by the west that killed many Iranians and Iraqis, and then be subtly encouraged to attack Kuwait, only to be pounded with heavy weapons, depleted uranium, etc. that lead to health problems for Iraqis lasting to this day, then be allowed to massacre the Shiites in the south with the implicit blessing of the west, only to be subjected to an extended embargo that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi babies, finally ending with a concerted campaign of lies that lead to another one hundred thousand or so Iraqi deaths, which is all claimed to be unrelated to Iraq holding the second largest oil reserves in the world?


Long question, but you get the idea, I think! You really mean "the primary reason" was Saddam, right?


Jay / October 7, 2010 6:28 AM

Agha, why don't you compare the latest GDP (PPP) by Capita:

Iran is 11k. Yes Turkey is higher but only at 12,476. And Korea is doing excellently at 27,978 and good for them. But Iran is doing better than a lot of big countries such as Brazil (10k), China (6k), Egypt (6k), Jordan (5k), Syria (4k), Iraq (3k), India (2.9k), Pakistan (2.6k). And the countries that are higher are not at a HUUUGE factor. Russia is 14.9k.

If Iran didn't have a war forced on them (costing them something like 500 billion) and an unnecessary sanction plan, we'd do better. Saudi
s GDP per capita is double ours, but they have double our oil with only 1/3rd of a population and with no outside pressure, one would expect much more GDP per capita.

there is a difference between holding Iran at a high standard and holding it a realistic standard. Given that after 2500 years of monarchy, it has tried its hand in a more people-represented system, and then in that short time had to be self-sufficient without any foreign interference after a long, long time, and face both war and sanctions, I think Iran has done pretty damn well, and has not stopped.

M. Ali / October 7, 2010 6:35 AM

Jay,

I am in a bit of a hurry right now so I'll have to keep it rather brief.

Yes, I did mean that the primary reason for Iraq's devastation was Saddam. He was a brutal dictator who had a habit of getting his country into highly desctructive unnecessary wars (in fact starting most of them), and exposing his people to disastrous sanctions, much like Khomeini and his successors. The fact that their images dominated the currencies of their respective countries (in our case Khomeini still does) aptly symbolises the destructive effects that their regimes had on the economies of their countries. Although there is some truth to some of the things you mentioned, you exaggerate US influence being behind Saddam and his actions. The responsibility was his and the millions of Iraqis who supported him. Apparently some of us want to extend our "Dai Jan Napoleon" mentality to cover the whole region!

Cy / October 7, 2010 8:09 AM


Thanks Cy,

I think you were in a hurry a bit.

In fact taking your statement to its logical conclusion would suggest that it was the common ordinary Iraqis that are responsible for their misery because after all they were all masters of their own fate and they could have just left Iraq or had an uprising or something else. I think you may have to restate what you said.

I say this in light of the fact that not "some" of what I said is true but in fact all of it is well-documented. One can argue on the level and scale of certain aspect, but the main thrust of what is stated is true. That Saddam was a CIA asset is documented - there was even a documentary aired on it right here in the US. That Saddam was given the green light, the intelligence, and ammunition to start the war against Iran by the US is very well-known based on declassified documents that is available to anyone who wants to read it - the goal was to stop Iran's influence and revolution from expanding in the region. That Saddam obtained chemical weapons through agricultural loans and commercial deals all provided by US and western companies with the full knowledge of what the end purpose was going to be is also documented extensively - in fact, the role of the US intelligence and Army chemical experts in the clean up of chemically annihilated islands near the south of Iran during the war is a documentary based on Army records and a book written by an Army expert that was there. I should not need to go on about the massacre of the kurds and the US reaction to it (when they had prior knowledge of what Saddam was about to do!), or the massacre of shiites in the south when the US gave Saddam the green light after the first Gulf War, or the documented death of Iraqi children by the UN for an embargo on baby milk formula, etc.

Saddam was a brutal dictator whose crimes and brutality would not have harmed the many millions of people if it would not have been for the role of his masters and enablers. I really think that you should correct your statement of "he responsibility was his and the millions of Iraqis who supported him." - it really reads like you are blaming the victims.

If you don't know about the well-documented history of Saddam and the western intelligence services, I am sure that the well-read visitors of this site will be able to provide you with numerous references.

jay / October 7, 2010 6:09 PM

Jay,

Again I will have to be brief. Your problem is that you completely ignore the fact that Saddam and his regime had deep roots in Iraq and the Arab world. You ignore how popular Saddam was at various points in history, not only in Iraq but in much of the Arab world. You ignore the fact that his regime was one of the offshoots of the Arab nationalism which had dominated much of the Arab world after World War 2. You ignore the fact that these ideologies were formulated by Arab intellectuals and embraced by the middle classes in many of these countries. You ignore that animosity towards Iran and Iranians had roots in these ideologies. It was Nasser who referred to the Persian Gulf as the "Arabian Gulf" decades before the Iran-Iraq war. Saddam had problems with Iran when the Shah was at the height of his power as well. Iraqi terrirorial claims existed when Iran was an important American ally as well. The Shah viewed Saddam and his regime as a serious threat to the country even after he achieved success with the 1975 Algiers Agreement. The idea that Saddam attacked Iran after the revolution because he was a "puppet" of the US as you say is just laughable. As if he didn't have a desire to do so on his own. Why wouldn't he have his own reasons to attack Iran when he sees that a neighbour he viewed as a natural enemy was in a chaotic and vulnerable state as a result of an Islamist revolution that he found threatening to his regime? Why wouldn't he have his own reasons for attacking Iran when he saw that Iran had lost all of the credibility and prestige that it used to have in the eyes of the international community by taking diplomats hostage and parrading them blindfolded in front of cameras? Why wouldn't he have his own reasons to attack Iran when only months before the start of the War Khomeini officially asks the Iraqi Army to rebel and get rid of him?

As I said the things that you mentioned may have some truth in them but the weight and significance that you assign to them while ignoring all other social, political and historical realities only produces a highly distorted and sick view of the world.

Cy / October 7, 2010 9:10 PM


Cy,
Thanks for making it clear what your arguments are all about - very utilitarian. You already know the result you want to accomplish and you "adjust the weight" of what you call reality in order to achieve your end. I am glad we had this discussion and I won't bother your very "healthy" view of the world with any more dose of reality.

Jay / October 8, 2010 2:21 AM

Pirouz


RE: "I remember those days well. The streets of Tehran were choked full of women in chadors, babes in hand, begging for chump change just to get by."

The streets of Tehran were "choked full" of "women in Chdor"??? arent you passing yourself as a "half-Iranian son of a vietnam veteran" who also happens to be "part native American"???!?!?!
what would you know about women in Chador in Tehran?

In any case, I would be proud to see Abu AliSina's image on our bank notes. I would also add Cyrus the Great, Mosadegh and Ferdowsi.

As for the current Rial, at 11000 to a $1, it is worth about the same as toilet paper, and with image of Khomeini, probably better served for the same purpose.

Ahvaz / October 8, 2010 7:02 AM

Cy,

I agree with you 100%
A lot of Daijan Napelons here. They blame all the ills on foreign superpowers who "are always out to get us" ,and somehow have gained the supernatural abilities to make governments fall and revolutions occur and countries to invade with a touch of their magic wand.

At the same time the people who blow up holly shrines, kill women and children in busy markets, beahead tourists in front of cameras, bomb funeral services, and terrorize neighborhoods with deathsquads are somehow the "victims". It is not their fault!!! They are forced upon leaders who are just "puppets" of these superpowers and would not dare do such terrible things (e.g invade their neighbor (Iraq), prolong a costly war (Iran), use chem weapons, etc) without the orders or permission of their "masters"!!!
No, they are the "victims"!
Come on jay!

You need to ask why are countries like Iran, Iraq, ... so f'ed up that many of their best and brightest have left and their young population would leave if they could?
It is not always some one else's fault, and I say that as an Iranian, that sometimes we need take responsibility for our own actions. Blaming it all on the US is just too easy and unproductive.

Ahvaz / October 8, 2010 11:01 AM


Ahvaz,

First off, I don't know your inside joke with your friend and comrade regarding "Daijan Napelons". Nonetheless, I am willing to address you in a logical fashion and see if reason can prevail.

Being a puppet of colonialists does not excuse the crimes of the puppet - just as being a colonialist without first hand exercise of the crime does not excuse the criminal colonialist. To be concrete, neither Saddam nor the western powers must be excused - they most both be condemned. They have victimized people in many places - not just Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan,...

For you and Cy to assert that the general population of these countries are not the victims of the joint crime by the colonialists and their puppets is simply absurd and speaks volumes about a state of mind. I doubt you meant to imply that!

Honest people must acknowledge the realities of imperial powers and their puppets in order to address themselves to a more just structure for the people.

History of colonialism, by the east or the west, along with the puppets of colonialism must be condemned and banished. If you are unable to see the necessity to condemn both, then so be it.

jay / October 8, 2010 6:32 PM

Jay,

I will touch on a few points:

1. Saddam was many things but he was not a "puppet" of anyone.

2. The general populations of these countries were absolutely the victims and I never said that they weren't. What I did say was that Saddam and his millions of Iraqi supporters were primarily responsible for the crimes that his regime committed and the devastation he brought to his country throughout his reign. His regime had deep roots in the Arab world and it was a very real manifestation of decades-long trends in the Arab world. At various times he was a very popular figure throughout the Arab world.

3. Many countries in the world, including the US, acted very shamefully in a number of ways with their policies toward Iraq during the past decades and they deserve to be criticised for it in a rational manner. The behaviour of the US, and the international community for that matter, regarding Saddam's use of chemical weapons against Iran as well as the Kurds in his own country is particularly shocking and disgraceful. My aim on this forum was never to present a full analysis of all of the guilty parties and their actions in this tragic period of history. This was simply not the place for it. You asked me if I really meant that Saddam and his regime were primarily responsible for Iraq's tragic history. I replied to confirm that yes I did. I also pointed out that your writings present a distorted view of reality and history. I stand by that.

Judging by your latest comment you also have a talent of misreading people's comments.

Cy / October 8, 2010 8:29 PM


Jay,
"History of colonialism, by the east or the west, along with the puppets of colonialism must be condemned and banished"

True and I do not argue that.

Iran (like numerous other nations) was victim of colonialism as it was practicaly devided in 2 by the Russians and the British.
Yet that does not excuse it for its current behavior, not does it excuse Iraq.

Daijan Napelon was a TV show comedy before the revolution about an old Reza shah officer who was paranoid the British were coming after him, and he blamed the British for every little mishap. He got more and more paranoid until he completely lost it and finally died.


If you ask many monarchists today why did Shah fall, they would tell you becase America wanted it that way. Ask the leftists, and they may tell you the same thing. Many Iranians still absurdly say "darn these British or Americans for bringing Khomeini on us!!!" Or "Iraqis wouldnt have attacked Iran if Saddam wasnt ordered to so by the Americans". Or the world wouldnt have sided with Iraq during the iran-iraq war if it werent for the Americans.
It goes on and on like this. It is never Iran's fault. We rather not look deeper into the root of the CURRENT problems because we see the world thru the prism of Daijan Napelon (probabaly partly as a result of our colonial history. in this case our history is holding us back).



ahvaz / October 8, 2010 8:46 PM

RE:
"History of colonialism, by the east or the west, along with the puppets of colonialism must be condemned and banished. If you are unable to see the necessity to condemn both, then so be it."

Condemning coloialists and their puppets is something that happens constantly in Iran. So perhaps your reminder for that is better for the people of nations that did the colonizing, not the colonized. We are already entirely too aware of it.

We Iranians were colonized in the past but we are still gripped by it 100+ years later. We must shake that past in order to move forward.

ahvaz / October 8, 2010 9:07 PM

M. Ali,

Now I know you are an unashamed apologist and propagandist for this regime.

First you stated that I should cite facts so I did - then when the facts didn't suit the backward incompetent ideology of the fanatic islamist regime - you decided to come up with some other facts to try and make things look better and fit in with islamist ideology and propaganda.

Second, if the economy has improved (your original assertion) refute the paper I cited (produced by an economist).

Third, citing GDP per capita PPP versus GDP per capita in dollars is pretty much saying the same thing - in the dollars list Iran is 74th or 87th in the list of countries (below such economic hot spots as Gabon, Barbados and Equatorial Guinea to name but a few). On the GDP per capita PPP Iran improves slightly but is still 61st at best (below Gabon, Mauritius and Botswana) so however you want to look at it the fanatic islamists have destroyed a once thriving economy which was above that of S. Korea and Turkey and is now instead below countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The fanatic islamists managed to do this despite having all the oil money which countries like Gabon and Botswana do not have.

Regarding your point about the war, of course saddam started this war, but it was khomeini who needlessly continued it from 1982 for another 6 years, after the Iraqis were expelled from Iran. This prolonging of the war was not only economically disastrous but resulted in the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iranians for no good reason. That is not imposition by outsiders that is islamist fanaticism and islamist stupidity.

Regarding your last point, my criticism isn't of Iran or its people rather it is of the fanatic islamist minority which has been raping Iran for the last 31 years. If you think that Ahamghi and Khaen-i are anything but dictators and somehow are "more people-representative" (come on who voted for the SL? NO ONE) then you are only deluding yourself.

Agha Irani / October 9, 2010 6:30 AM

Can you discuss something without starting your sentence with garbage such as, "unashamed apologist and propagandist for this regime."? I didn't call you insult your intelligence by resorting to childish attacks of calling you a CIA-paid stooge, did I?

The "facts" you provided was a link to a paper that I should pay for to view. I'm sorry, but I'm not about to pay $30 to read something you linked.

The reason I prefer PPP to nominal, because it takes into account cost of living. You compare it with Iran's past and how well it is doing comparitively.

And why are you insulting other countries by acting like its an insult for Iran to be lower than them? A lot of Iranian diaspora hate arabs, but it seems Qatar is 2nd, much higher than your beautiful Aryan western country lovers. And Brunei is 5th.

It's not always a competition. We have to look at the bigger picture. I'm not really insulted if Maritius' GDP per capita (PPP) is higher than Iran's. Its a small country, with 1.2 million people, not in 10% of Tehran. But Iran is higher than a lot of countries that could are turning into regional super-powers, such as India, Brazil, and China.

And I have lot more pride for Iran because its doing it by refusing foreign influence, after a very long period of foriegn interference in our country, in Qajar and Pahlavi Dynasty. We've faced war and sanctions, and refuse to give an inch, and instead of collapsing like they predicted, we stand strong and year by year, we grow.

You keep mentioning how once we used to be above South Korea and Turkey. In Turkey's case, Turkey has come a long way, and kudos to them. One of the few countries in the world that has shown how it can grow so fast, without losing its dignity. I am not ashmed of the (small) difference in our economy and I am proud that they are our friends.

In South Korea's case, I also have no issues with a country progressing. However, South Korea is a country that relies heavily on USA. To be honest, I prefer my development to be slower and be strong enough to deny foriegn army camps in my country. Around 30,000 US army men and women are stationed in South Korea with dozens of camps scattered all around. This is not the price I want Iran to pay.

Regards war - Hindsight is 20/20. If a country attacks Iran, and Iran pushes them back out of the border, do you want to quickly sign a truce? I'm sure if Iran had done that, Saddam would have re-armed and attacked Iran again in a year or two. At best, we could have been successful. At worst, we stopped anone fucking with us again.

Stop saying ISLAMIST ISLAMIST ISLAMIST. I know you diasporas don't know actual Iran, but here is something strange and unheard of, but IRANIANS HAVE A HIGH PERCENTAGE OF MUSLIMS. The days of Iranian Zorastarians are gone. Its not just a few Basijis or Hezbollahis. You go to any city and any town and see the number of people who believe in the religion. It is not a "fanatic islamist minority", but a religious majority that 98% wanted an Islamic Republic back in 1979 and 85% believed in the system enough to vote and a high percentage voted for the existing President. A 85% voter turn out is certainly higher than the pathetic 50% USA gets meaning that the people BELIEVE their vote counts, believe they are represented, minus certain minority groups,which exist in any republic in the world.

M. Ali / October 10, 2010 5:28 PM

M. Ali

You can read an abstract can't you?

"A time-series cross sectional analysis of the manufacturing sector confirms that TFP growth rates fell after the revolution and did not recover anywhere close to their pre revolution levels even after the Iran-Iraq war."

Is that clear? Iran is less productive now than before the revolution FULL STOP. Stop your lies - I'll say it again: Iran is less productive after the revolution than before.

Now you can go on and on and on about PPP or otherwise but the FACT is Iran in less productive under the ISLAMISTS - and it is still in the lower regions of the table despite its oil wealth.

If, as you imply, you are not bothered about how Iran's economic opportunities have been squandered by the ISLAMISTS then it just goes to show that you don't care about Iran but are far more interested in some ideological clap-trap (usually to do with hamas and hezbollah instead of Iran). Wake up - countries trade with each other - thats how it is - its called world trade. Its exactly this isolationist mentality of the ISLAMISTS thats cost Iran so dearly.

"I'm sure if Iran had done that, Saddam would have re-armed and attacked Iran again in a year or two."
- utter rubbish Saddam signaled that he wanted to sign a truce after 82. Anyway how do you know you his thoughts? He indicated that he wanted a truce.

"but a religious majority that 98% wanted an Islamic Republic back in 1979 and 85% believed in the system enough to vote and a high percentage voted for the existing President. A"

BTW I have nothing against islam, I just have a problem with fanatic extremist ISLAMISTS who are more interested in taking hostages and building bombs than looking after the welfare of ordinary Iranians. Its absurd that you quote election figures - just as the vote last year was fixed the vote in 79 was also fixed - if the ISLAMISTS were so confident then they wouldn't need to send their thugs on the streets to shoot innocent unarmed Iranians - women and children. But you still haven't answered the question: did Khaen-i get elected through a general election or did a bunch of akhoonds choose him? - its absurd if you claim this as an election.

Agha Irani / October 11, 2010 11:52 AM

M. Ali

BTW what part of free from "foreign influence" are the Russians building a nuclear reactor, or all the Chinese doing business in Iran. And why are so many foreign terrorists (e.g. hamas, hezbollah, the Iraqi insurgents, and even al-Qaeda) residing in Iran?

Agha Irani / October 11, 2010 12:00 PM

I guess we approach information differently. This is the crux of the problem. When I ask for facts, you tell me that this abstract is enough, "A time-series cross sectional analysis of the manufacturing sector confirms that TFP growth rates fell after the revolution and did not recover anywhere close to their pre revolution levels even after the Iran-Iraq war."

Unlike you, I'd prefer to read the paper to see if I agree with it. There is enough misinformation regarding Iran that I am unwilling to just read abstracts and believe them until I see the reasons behind it. Take the worthless post-election "studies" that were terrible and have been so far trumpled by better research studies by now.

"Now you can go on and on and on about PPP or otherwise but the FACT is Iran in less productive under the ISLAMISTS - and it is still in the lower regions of the table despite its oil wealth."

Writing fact as FACT does not make it fact. Give me a fact, give me numbers. I have used actual numbers for my arguments but you ignored it and repeat vague assertions. Do you disagree that Iran is now more self-sufficient than it was before the revolution?

"If, as you imply, you are not bothered about how Iran's economic opportunities have been squandered by the ISLAMISTS then it just goes to show that you don't care about Iran but are far more interested in some ideological clap-trap (usually to do with hamas and hezbollah instead of Iran). "

No, it is not an idealogical argument. I'm not religious at all, but I believe in geopolitics policies that are beneficial to Iran's defense and long-term growth and I believe in the dignity of a country to stand on its own two feeth.

"Wake up - countries trade with each other - thats how it is - its called world trade. Its exactly this isolationist mentality of the ISLAMISTS thats cost Iran so dearly. "

There is nothing with trade and Iran engages in it. When did I say anything about trade? Iran's trade with foriegn countries have been on the rise, notwithstanding sanctions with certain countries like USA. But it has established a strong trade relationships with many countries from East and West. The difference is that it has a varied portfolio now. If this is something you want to dispute, I would be willing to show you statistics.

"- utter rubbish Saddam signaled that he wanted to sign a truce after 82. Anyway how do you know you his thoughts? He indicated that he wanted a truce."

Why do you think he wanted a truce? Because he thought he was losing and a truce would have been beneficial for him. Again, it is easier to judge after an event, but at that time, pushing back into an attacking country was the best decision, because we thought we could win. We didn't, but we at least, attacked Iraq and damaged Saddam enough for them never to think about attacking Iran again. Maybe if a truce was signed in 82, without any damage to Iraq, Saddam would have just restructured his army and attacked yet again. This way, we put a stop to it once and for all, and a testemant to Iran's sacrifice is that in the time after that, no foreign soldier has put a foot in Iran.

"Its absurd that you quote election figures - just as the vote last year was fixed"

How was it fixed?

"But you still haven't answered the question: did Khaen-i get elected through a general election or did a bunch of akhoonds choose him? - its absurd if you claim this as an election. "

Each country has different ways of governmental system. Khameneini is voted by the Gaurdian Council who is voted half by Majlis and half by Assembly of Experts, both groups elected by the people. Is every official in a country voted by the people or do the people vote for the system that puts them in place?

"BTW what part of free from "foreign influence" are the Russians building a nuclear reactor"

Building a nuclear reactor is a business. Iran has no problem with paying someone to do a job. Plus, Iran is becoming self-sufficient in the nuclear expertise. How much expertise did the Iranians have in the Qajar and Pahlavi dynasty?

"or all the Chinese doing business in Iran. "

Above you say world trade is good now you are saying China doing business with Iran is bad? I take you just like your western arbabs, right?

Iran-China relationship is an economical relationship. China does not try to interfere in Iran's right to govern itself nor does it threaten its boundaries nor does it look for regime change nor does it pay millions to anti-government groups.


M. Ali / October 12, 2010 12:24 PM

این دود سیه فام که از بام وطن خاست....از ماست که بر ماست
وین شعله سوزان که برآمد زچپ و راست...از ماست که بر ماست
جان گر به لب ما رسد از غیر ننالیم....با کس نسگالیم
از خویش بنالیم که جان سخن اینجاست....از ماست که بر ماست
ما کهنه چناریم که از باد ننالیم....بر خاک ببالیم
لیکن چه کنم، آتش ما در شکم ماست....از ماست که بر ماست
گوییم که بیدار شدیم! این چه خیالیست؟....بیداری ما چیست؟
بیداری طفلی*ست که محتاج به لالاست....از ماست که بر ماست

Ahvaz / October 12, 2010 9:46 PM

M. Ali

Frankly there is no doubt that you are not interested in finding truth but in spreading the propaganda of this regime.

In the posts above I have provided you with fact after fact after fact. There are also numerous other sources on the web which will tell you the same thing that I am - that Iran's economy has gone back, not forward. You choose to ignore these facts because you are a propagandist, not interested in truth. Look at my earlier posts - they cite sources which you now choose to ignore - this isn't a discussion this is a little propaganda effort from presstv or some such regime apparatus.

I will not go thru your whole post and take it apart point by point because it is pointless trying to have a discussion with a propagandist.

But I'll just make two points:

1. "Above you say world trade is good now you are saying China doing business with Iran is bad?"

I pointed out the contradiction in your statement NOT MINE. YOU talk about freedom from foreign influence NOT ME yet YOU seem to think that China, Russia and all the various Arab terrorists which this wicked regime supports (and which you conveniently omitted from you reply) are not foreign or have no influence over Iran. If you think that the Chinese or Russians or others will not use their economic power to influence issues in Iran then you are either short-sighted or refuse to see the truth when it is staring at you.

2."Each country has different ways of governmental system. Khameneini is voted by the Gaurdian Council who is voted half by Majlis and half by Assembly of Experts, both groups elected by the people. Is every official in a country voted by the people or do the people vote for the system that puts them in place?"

Preposterous, every candidate in the islamist elections are pre-screened and the ones they don't like are prevented from taking part - it is absurd to call this an election. This is like elections in communist systems where everyone can stand for election so long as they are members of the communist party. In Iran everyone can stand for election so long as they fit in with the Khaen-i or conservative ideology. And the rest of the people can go to hell, as was clearly demonstrated last year when the islamist thugs shot innocent unarmed protesters on the streets (another point you fail to deal with in your reply).

Now my aim is to expose propagandists such as Pirouz and apparently you from the shameful lies and distortion you put out on the web. I think that aim is achieved - anyone who happens to read these posts can make up their own mind whether there is even the slightest bit of objectivity (and truth) in what the islamists are writing.

Agha Irani / October 13, 2010 7:30 AM