Iranian academic Mahmoud Sariolghalam, an expert on development and political science, says Iran should strive to reach a deal to eliminate US sanctions.
Sariolghalam also insisted in an interview with Khabar Online that membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS will not help Iran unless it maintains healthy relations with the rest of the world. The biggest service Iranian lawmakers, policy makers and decision-makers can do to the nation is trying to relieve the country of the sanctions and pave the way for constructive international relations.
A graduate of the USC and the Ohio State University, Dr. Sariolghalam who teaches at the Beheshti University in Tehran, suggested in this interview that Iran should start liberalization before democratization and prioritize economic development before starting political development as a way out of its current crisis.
He also added that having experts as members of the parliament is part of the way out of the crisis. He said the main concern for officials should be one of economic development because a country without an income cannot have social or cultural growth.
Emphasizing the need for expertise within the government, Sariolghalam highlighted that economic development and governance are akin to sciences like medicine and engineering. He went on to state that holding numerous conferences each year is not necessary to grasp this concept. He further underscored that given the current state of affairs in Iran, the country cannot progress in a manner comparable to the development seen in countries like South Korea, Singapore, Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia.
Hinting at the pitfalls of government and military control of the economy, he pointed out that in countries like China, Turkey, and Mexico, governments separated the realms of resource management and ownership to foster development. Conversely, India achieved development when its military recognized the necessity of separating ownership from the state.
Sariolghalam said officials need to understand that high significance is attached to expertise in Qatar and Saudi Arabia to ensure their development. He added that the ability to communicate with the outside world should be a key criterion for appointing ministers and electing lawmakers. He warned that during the next 20 years, a vast gap will emerge between Iran and Arab countries.
He also cautioned that Iran cannot grow if the government wishes to control 95 percent of all resources and leave only 5 percent for the private sector. Elsewhere in the interview, Sariolghalam said the West's problem with Iran is not about the nuclear issue, it is about Iranian officials' attitude toward Israel and the Jewish people. The JCPOA could not solve the conflict between Iran and the West and that is why it was not successful.
Meanwhile, in another interview with Khabar Online, former commander of the IRGC navy Hossein Alaei, who has been known as an academic in the Iranian universities as well as a reformist political figure during the past three decades, said that "halfway through President Ebrahim Raisi's four-year term of office, the government is beginning to realize that Iran's economic problems will not be solved unless the sanctions are lifted."
He also added that Iran's membership in international organizations such as BRICS and SCO can be helpful only in the absence of sanctions. Speaking about the hindrances to Iran's development, Alaei said that US sanctions are the main obstacle.
The former commander emphasized that Iranian officials must alter their approach towards the West, particularly the United States. He regarded Iran's enmity with the US as the nation's most pressing issue, noting that the current sanctions make it unlikely for any country to consider cooperating with Tehran. He urged a reduction in this perilous level of hostility towards the United States.
"All officials should make economic development their number one priority," Alaei underlined.