A conservative news website in Tehran has published readers' comments about the nuclear talks and Iran's economic crisis, that despite censorship are revealing.
The comments, if published on any website in Iran, are strictly moderated to avoid possible insult against state officials, yet they reveal how the Iranian society perceives developments reported by the media.
Commenting on how likely is a nuclear agreement between Iran and the West, one reader said on Alef website, "Clearly Iran should fulfil its commitments under the JCPOA. An agreement would be possible if Iran does so, otherwise, there will be no agreement." As the comment looks contrary to Tehran's official view, the website replied: "Let the West do it first for once."
Another reader commented: "The United States wishes to return to the JCPOA so that it could activate the trigger mechanism and return all the UN resolutions against Iran. What the Iranian people want is a sustainable long-term agreement with the West."
Yet another user said: "We, and not the West, urgently need to negotiate and to reach an agreement. It is our economy that suffers from an 85-percent inflation [in some cases], not their economy. Prices change by the hour here, not in the West. Almost everyone has come to the conclusion that what we needed in Iran is an end to sanctions rather than a change of government."
The website replied that due to the mismanagement of the economy during the past 50 years, the rise in inflation will continue even if the sanctions are lifted.
Recently, when Iranian officials admit serious problems like inflation and drought, they refer to 50 years, to include the last few years of monarchy in Iran when the economy was in fact booming.
Another reader said, "They call themselves economists and still want to raise the income tax by 64 percent. Even the current tax rate is too much for some businesses." A third user opined that "the wave of immigration from Iran is caused by high prices and inflation."
One reader summed up a sentiment often evident in social media posts by Iranians. "If you cannot solve the problem of Iran's economy, what is wrong with asking the views of some international economists? Stop coming up with temporary solutions that redouble poverty and hunger in this country and increase inflation. The people can no longer tolerate price rises."
Referring to selling government assets as a way of coping with the country's massive budget deficit, one user commented: "Please do not sell government assets to plunderers. Instead of selling government assets to corrupt individuals, take back their illegitimate wealth and punish them for disrupting the national economy."
"It is a fact that the government is confused about many things particularly about the economy. Economic figures in the government do not work in coordination with each other and it is every man for himself. However, none of them has a solution," one of the comments said.
An article on the website that said the reason why lawmakers want to impeach Minister of Industry Reza Fatemi Amin is that he has not been able to control car prices also attracted attention. One reader said that "car prices can be controlled if the government allows the import of foreign-made cars to end the monopoly of Iranian automobile makers in the market. The competition will also lead to an improvement in the quality of domestically manufactured vehicles."
Another user said that "someone should first impeach the lawmakers who wish to impeach the Minister. Their performance is no better than the members of the cabinet."