By Soheil Asefi
October 20, 2012 "Counterpunch" - -Berlin - The European Union agreed to new sanctions against Iran on Monday, October 15 to force Tehran to comply with international demands that it scale back its nuclear program. At the same time, violence and protest in Iran as currency drops in value was in last week’s news headlines. The new phase of widespread discontent has intensified the abeyance of the stranded people of Iran.
Disruption in drug imports is just a piece of the grave consequences of the international sanctions on Iran. Iranian media report that the country is facing shortages of medicine needed for the treatment of a number of illnesses — including life-threatening conditions like cancer and heart disease, pulmonary problems, hemophilia, and multiple sclerosis. Meanwhile, the stern sanctions which have been imposed against Iranians are going to become a hope for the so-called international community and Iranian neoliberal forces. In light of the lassitude of an unattached opposition, inevitable failure of the ruling theocracy in Iran is going to become an unmitigated tragedy.
The International Community Wants It All
Meanwhile, recent protests and clashes at the center of Tehran seeing delirium of a bunch of factotum of the U.S think-thanks is no surprise for the seasoned political observers though it could be like an alarm for progressive forces in Iran and diaspora. The forces whose voices you can barely hear in the mainstream media. Strictly speaking, the deadlock of Iran’s regime could depict a horrific familiar story of domination in the Middle East. It seems the process of “The Greater Middle East” of Newcons is fulfilled by another puppet of AIPAC and its EU allies, tragically with a Nobel peace prize in hand. It seems liberalization in the Middle East is likely to lead to privatization. Recent upheavals in Iran show us, at all costs, even bringing down the desperate people to their knees, the plan must keep going.
Furthermore, it seems part of the ruling system will have the upper hand beyond all this current hew and cry over the political exercise of Iran’s nuclear program. It seems the shoo-in is a bunch of military people that monopolise capital and power and keep it in their hands, which is little surprise for those cognizant observers who realize the nature of this regime and also the so-called international community and its insatiable interests.
The fate of the Iran negotiations with the 5 +1 group is still not clear. Behind-the-scene talks are going on and the emerging doctrine of the United States could perform a big role like a turning point in the upcoming negotiations with Iran, especially after the US election as Ahmadinejad pointed out on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” program, “Following the election, certainly the atmosphere will be much more stable, and important decisions can be made and announced.” Nevertheless Machiavellism and greed of the Western side could lead to any kind of unpredictable excitement. It is the most important part of imperialist character. They just want it all.
As a matter of fact, Iran under the mob rule regime and insatiable desire of the global capitalism is going to be crippled in the coming months and the society is on the verge of collapse as I pointed out earlier. Let’s now take a closer look at current conditions.
The IMF and recent economic crisis in Iran
The Rial exchange rate against the dollar and other foreign currencies has suddenly taken an upward turn. Ahmadinejad claimed that the impact of sanctions lies at the bottom of it. His opponents within the regime and supporters of the regime of capitalist restoration solutions in the so-called opposition, all trying to purport just the government’s inability to recognize signs of currency crises. But what is the reality?
Apart of the role of the merchants, the “Bazaaris” and the money-changers in these growing protests against an unpopular government to understand the reasons behind the collapse of the Rial policies should be put at the back. It is important at this point to show that contrary to all the agitation that is done, the most important reason behind the collapse of the Rial, tie in with the advises of the IMF. The Islamic Republic with cutting the subsidies are in force IMF’s prescriptions religiously.
Needless to say, the current regime in Iran is experiencing an economic and political crisis. To respond to the economic crisis, the solution adopted by the regime is dictated by the IMF. All of this is happening at a time when neither Ahmadinejad, nor any of his opponents, including the reformists and their cohorts (Eslah talaban) and the conservatives (Osoolgarayan)have any structured economic plans or ways out of the crisis except the prescriptions of the IMF.
One justification was that since the 3rd Development Plan the preparations were made for “targeted subsidies” [i.e. elimination of subsidies], and some sort of stabilisation and shift was planned. Here it is also necessary to recognise the roots of the specific policies of all these governments in neo-liberalism. The other pretext in favour of the government was the interpretation of Article 44 of the Constitution (dealing with ownership in macro economy) and the role of this Article in favour of the government. [With the executive order of the Islamic Supreme Leader] the 9th government [1st terms of Ahmadinejad in office] gained a solid support in terms of high military and political power, and from the clergy and also ideologically.
Therefore, it got the opportunity to implement these changes and reforms. The other reason was that the Ahmadinejad government itself was very keen on making these changes. The militarised capitalism has its own needs and necessities, one of them is the elimination of subsidies. The ultimate goal of neo-liberal and neo-conservative capitalism (which eventually is the economic model of the Ahmadinejad government) is to eliminate the subsidies, because it wants to convert labour to a commodity and release it in the market, and not taking any responsibility to protect wages and the standard living of people. These responsibilities are considered barriers for the foreign investments which the government is seeking with a staggering hunger.
We clearly see that with regard to development plans and economic studies they constantly recommend getting the approval of a foreign consultant in any way possible, even by paying extra money. In many cases they know that a foreign consultant does not even have ten percent of the information or analytical knowledge of a domestic consultant, but they insist on getting its approval. This is because they want to open the doors for foreign capital. Capitalism does not like unions and syndicates; does not like subsidies. It just wants to take advantage of cheap labour and run its business. It wants to take advantage of unemployment, and reduced wages.
The ignorance of comprehension of the society and the political system
According to reports Victoria Nuland, the US state department’s spokeswoman, was quick to attribute the rial’s recent ill fate to “the unrelenting and increasingly successful international pressure” on Iran’s economy. Earlier in the week, Israel’s finance minister, Yuval Steinitz, alleged that the sanctions were pushing the Iranian economy towards collapse and in this flagrant sequential statements in another impudently statement Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the sanctions have had an impact as well, but that could be quickly remedied if the Iranian government was willing to work with the so-called international community “ in a sincere manner.”
Just a glimpse on the recent story of the New York Times from Tehran would be adequate for seasoned political observers to estimate the Westerners’ agendas for this country. Is it the harsh punishment of the people of a historic geopolitical country in the Middle East who was the victims of political Islam which has been received during the cold war era and still paying the heavy price of this curio for plot of imperialism?
This climate is so reminiscent of the way people were treated during unrequited revolution of 1979 though there are some characteristic differences with the cold war era. The problem lies in the agenda of the Iranian New-liberal forces and a bunch of contrite leftists in the mainstream media under the name of the so-called opposition who strongly believed the only way which will stop Iran is crippling sanctions or even the so-called humanitarian intervention. They believed the only way to release and get out of this situation is succour of the so-called international community because there is no such thing as Imperialism anymore thus we have to be realistic.
The question which you cannot find in the mainstream media is about the historic notion of Iran: what is the nature of the Islamic Republic today? what is our specific stand to some in-depth topics like imperialism, domination and exploitation in today’s world? etc.
It seems there is a blanket agreement on trounce the Iranian people in order to establish domination in region and particularly Iran.
In short, despite any kind of horse-trading between the Islamic Republic and the so-called international community, a principled stand against imperialist intervention of any kind, including military intervention, sanctions, public relations war, organizing the colorful movements and so on and so forth seems like an obligation of conscience for the progressive forces around the world. Regrettably most of these mainstream activists, particularly the Iranian so-called activists in the diaspora, are unable to understand this verity that society has its own existence distinct from diverse political systems that govern it. Political systems come and go in a short period of time. What remains is society. No one should let a society be destroyed because of its government.
Soheil Asefi is an Iranian journalist in Berlin. He left Iran some years ago after a ten- year professional experience of major Iranian media outlets. He had been in prison and was released on bail. He came to Germany as the guest of the City of Nuremberg under the project ‘Writers in Exile’ funded by the German Pen Center. He is the recipient of the Hermann Kasten award in Nuremberg.