A senior adviser to former reformist President Mohammad Khatami says many Iranians see emigration as a way out of the looming collapse of the regime in Iran.
Mohammad Reza Tajik wrote his article in the reformist Etemad newspaper in a cryptic language filled with phrases from religious books in a way that would presumably save him from a punitive reaction by the government.
Tajik, an open-minded intellectual, became too cautious and evasive following his arrest and imprisonment after the disputed presidential election in 2009 that re-instated Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a second term.
Tajik argued that the massive wave of emigration out of Iran is the people’s reaction to ongoing social and political chaos and the resulting despair that has overwhelmed the Iranian society. Multiple crises have brought the Islamic government to the brink of a downfall.
He quoted Iranian philosopher Javad Tabatabaei as saying that European visitors to Iran in the late 19th century and early 20th century attributed Iran's political collapse in that period to the wave of emigration out of the country.
Both then and now, a majority of Iranians who leave the country for good are either well-educated experts who find the government too repressive and backward and prefer to move to developed countries, or wealthy Iranians who believe the country's long-standing and worsening political and economic crises will endanger their capital and investments in Iran.
This process drained Iran of its human and financial resources, Tabatabaei quoted European visitors as saying. At the same time, the migrations make the country's situation even worse, by decimating human capital and leaving very little if any motivation for the rest of the elite to stay in the country.
Tajik wrote in his article, that the only thing the government can do to stop this destructive trend is to surrender to essential changes that have been part of the demands by protesters and by politicians since last year, such as former President Hassan Rouhani. However, Iranian observers have said over and over that the regime finds it hard to undermine its authority and succumb to reform.
According to Tajik, recent opinion polls conducted in Iran show that an increasing number of the well-educated elites are considering emigrating as their last resort. He added that Iranians have been among the first five nations taking part in the US immigration lottery. As a result of the wave of migrations, Iran's population is expected to fall by 16 percent which could translate into a 27-percent decline in talented workforce and a 19-percent decline in the number of people in their 20s and 30s.
Other reports in Iran say the age of emigrants has dropped so much that even high school adolescents are among those who put pressure on their families to leave the country for good. Reports indicate that young Iranians are taking English classes more seriously than their other lessons, hoping to facilitate their relocation to countries such as Canada, which is currently the number one destination because of the relative ease in obtaining visas. Some reports say many of those who are considering emigration do not plan to return to Iran.
There have been many complaints in recent months about the emigration of medical staff from Iran. On the other hand there are many websites that offer guidance for doctors and nurses who wish to leave Iran.
Tajik noted that most of those who leave Iran wish to go to countries that the government has been branding as "enemies." This is a bitter irony, he said. It is also sad for Iranians who think they have wasted their money and other resources on training a workforce that is now going to leave the country for good.
This, in other words, marks a defeat for the Islamic Republic’s ideologically designed educational system. The outcome of the policies that have led the country to this stage is nothing but a defeat, about which Tajik wisely did not elaborate any further.