A waste picker in Iran

Pundits Say Iran Is In A 'Quagmire' Where People Struggle To Survive

Friday, 06/02/2023

A reformist figure widely known in Iran as a regime apologist has acknowledged that the Islamic Republic is entangled in a quagmire of problems and crises. 

At the same time, an Iranian academic has asserted that "ideology" is the root cause of the country's problems. 

Hamid Reza Jalaipour told Entemad Online website that Iran is currently entangled in a web of crises as most Iranians see no promising prospect for the country's future. "The elites are thinking of leaving the country for good. The youths evade marriage and those who are married do not want to have children as many are affected by widespread poverty," said Jalaipour. 

According to the politician, the Islamic Republic is facing all sorts of financial, environmental, social and international crises, which it is not capable of resolving. The government has failed to hold free and fair elections. On the other hand, the people have not managed to convince the government through their protests that its strategic policies are wrong, he said. 

Jalaipour added: "The government is in a political impasse and the people are painfully struggling to find a way out. It is as though the regime is holding a grudge against the people. As a result, society is in a state of political suspension." 

Iranian academic Hamid-Reza Jalaipour

He added that in the meantime, four different political narratives are being furthered in Iran by different groups. However, none of them is powerful enough to confront the country's crises. 

The first narrative is one of "unified government" or consolidation of power by limiting elections to contests among conservatives and restricting reformists and moderates' political participation. This was pushed through by hardliners in the past 3 years and has failed, angering the people. 

The next narrative is about bringing "reforms." This requires a free and fair electoral system which is non-existent in Iran. 

However, Jalaipour failed to say why real elections have not been allowed, probably because he did not want to annoy the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Revolutionary Guards, who have been ‘engineering elections in Iran at least since 2005. 

The third narrative is one of "transition" from the current system by holding a referendum on key issues, and the fourth narrative is "regime change." The regime strictly rules out the idea of transition and is prepared to shed blood to prevent regime change. Jalaipoir insisted that none of these four narratives are able to solve the country's problems. The only solution is empowering the middle class. However, he stated that the economic crisis during the past decade has left no middle class as most sociologists and economists maintain. 

Iranian academic Mahmoud Jamsaz

Meanwhile, Iranian academic Mahmoud Jamsaz told Rouydad24 website in Tehran that Iran's chaotic economy which is based on giving concessions to well-connected individuals and is alien to the idea of development. He maintained that the root cause of Iran's problems is the ideological political system, which has effectively ruined the country's economy and international relations. This system, said Jamsaz, is against economic development as it does not serve the interests of the privileged few.

According to Jamsaz, the country is struggling in a quagmire created by rising inflation. It is interesting that both Jalaipour and Jamsaz likened the country's situation to a quagmire in which Iranians struggle for survival.

Jamzas said: "The quagmire is deeper and more turbulent in the areas of financial matters and housing. The annual inflation figures are unbelievable, but still many Iranians believe that actual inflation is way higher than the figures announced by the government. Even the government's own Planning and Budget Organization questions the validity of those figures."

He said, "one of the main problems of Iran's economy is that it is at the service of the government and is meant to serve the ideological interests of the regime. So, the government prefers its ideological interests to national interests." He added that the government is constantly deceiving itself to justify its wrong policies. In such a situation, even the revival of the JCPOA and lifting of the sanctions cannot resolve the crisis. He reiterated: "Ideology cannot solve the country's problems because ideology is the problem."

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