MIDDLE EAST

Our sick neighbor

There is no doubt that Iran is a sick state. The frequent popular protests defying oppression every few years are a proof of that.

Iran’s friends and supporters in Iraq would be upset by such opinions as the Iranian regime is sacred to them. However, if they really have their friends’ best interest at heart, they must inform them of the truth. The truth is that Iran is a sick state whose main problem lies in its totalitarian regime.

Ten years after the Iranian revolution toppled the Shah, the world began to clean up totalitarian regimes. Later on, the regimes of Saddam Hussein, Moammar Qaddafi, Ali Abdullah Saleh and Taliban collapsed. The Assad regime is faltering, and if it hadn’t been for that strong and flagrant Iranian and Russian intervention, it would have collapsed years ago.

It’s well-known that a large percentage of oil revenues, as well as other revenues, is being used to cover military expenses and to support groups in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and other countries.

Adnan Hussein

Iran desperately held on to the totalitarian regime, and it now resembles someone who is going to Mecca while pilgrims are returning.

Eight years ago, the large-scale popular uprising calling for freedom was violently quelled. Those oppressed included prominent members from within the regime itself, such as former President Mohammad Khatami, former Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi, former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi and hundreds of other reformist figures and thousands of ordinary people who aspired for freedom after three decades of totalitarian governance which turned Iran that’s rich in natural resources into one of the poorest countries in the world.

Economic crisis

In October, Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli submitted a report to Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei and included detailed numbers about the economic and social crisis that has been worsening for decades. The report showed that the unemployment rate in some cities reached 60 percent, which is unprecedented during the Islamic Republic’s history.

Rahmani Fazli said at a press conference that the current unemployment rate is 12.5 percent and noted that the rate is higher in other areas such as in the Kurdish Kermanshah and Arab Ahwaz and in the Baluchestan Province where it reached 60%.

ALSO READ: Uprising continues across Iran as more cities witness protests, clashes

The report also said that 11 million Iranians live in marginalized areas, adding that there are 1.5 million drug addicts and 600,000 prisoners. These numbers are huge for a country that exports more than 4.5 million barrels of oil a day and that is almost self-sufficient in terms of nutrition. According to unofficial data, the annual inflation rate is very high as it’s between 6.8% and 8.7%.

It’s well-known that a large percentage of oil revenues, as well as other revenues, is being used to cover military expenses and to support groups in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and other countries.

It’s not difficult to resort to armed force to quell the current protests but can this force put out the fire beneath the ashes? Iran’s experience states otherwise.

This article is also available in Arabic.
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Adnan Hussein is the executive editor-in-chief of Al-Mada newspaper and head of the National Union of Iraqi journalists. Previously, he has held the position of Managing Editor in Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. He tweets under the handle @adnanhussein.

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Last Update: Thursday, 4 January 2018 KSA 16:52 - GMT 13:52
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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