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The Iranian economy

The article on the Iranian economy (``Iran's resilient economy,'' July 11) confuses issues as much as it clarifies them. It is informative from a general point of view, but it fails to address the main issues confronting the Iranian economy and its fundamentalist leaders: the deterioration of the economy, the large decline in living standards, the corruption of the revolutionary elite, and the absence of any coherent economic policy. The article points to the fact that the Islamic regime now governing Iran cannot claim any achievement in the economic field. The Iranian economy suffers from a sharp decline in agricultural and industrial production, as well as high unemployment (which, incidentally, would be higher were it not for the large number of men mobilized in the armed forces, Revolutionary Guards, and other security forces).

However, the story fails to point out that, contrary to the regime's propaganda, the lower classes have not been made better off by the revolution. Stagnant money incomes, high inflation and unemployment, and shortages have sharply reduced their standards of living; any reduction in the inequality of distribution of income and consumption has been achieved by a general impoverishment of the population.

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The article notes the competence of central bank and oil company officials but fails to mention the generally acknowledged incompetence and the very high degree of corruption of the country's political and religious leaders. According to foreign and Iranian businessmen, official corruption, which has intensified in the past few months, is far more serious and widespread than under the previous regime.

The Iranian economy's remarkable resilience results in large part from its high levels of oil income (the second highest in OPEC), and the ingenuity of the Iranian nation. It does not stem from the policymaking of its Islamic rulers, who can only take credit for the gradual destruction of the nation's economy. Karim Pakravan Evanston, Ill.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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