Iran at a crossroad with Hassan RohaniAuthor: P.F.Fauhaum
Iran at a crossroad with Hassan Rohani
Opinion article by P.F.Fauhaum
Iranian President-Elect Hassan Rohani
More than 100 years after the Mashrooteh (Law or legal restraint) revolution in Iran, the election of Mr. Rohani has brought the Iranian nation and government to a major cross road once more. The difference however is the fact that at this point in history choosing the wrong path will contribute to complete disintegration of Iran as a nation in the near future.
Historically, the Iranian clergy have been key difference makers in Iranian politics. Efforts to demonize all Iranian clergy are counterproductive and erroneous.
The Mashrooteh revolution could not have succeeded without the foresight and activism of progressive clergies such as Ayatollah Behbehani and Tabatabai who confronted the Monarchists and regressive clergies who were trying to reverse the ruling of Mozaferdin Shah who had accepted the Mashrooteh ( Secular Law ) principals to a system of Mashrooeh ( Sharia ).
Ayatolah Kashani's last minute withdrwal of support for Dr. Mosadegh caused collapse of his regime. Ayatolah Khomeni leading the revolution against the former Shah caused the collapse of the Pahlavi regime. Ayatolah Taleghani and Montazeri and numerous others had been significant political assets for Iranian political movements as well.
The election of Rohani and the subsequent joyous celebration by his supporters has shocking revelations for a few interested parties in Iranian politics.
Mr. Jallili, who was supported by the so called principalist wing, received an insignificant portion of the vote largely from cronies of the current regime. If popular support is the fuel necessary for a government or political movement, the Jallili result shows that the regime is running on empty tanks with minimal backing from the Iranian people.
The international operators intent on destroying Iran through sanctions and sectarian and political divisions are witnessing a political insider with vast popular support capable of unifying the country by delivering on a number of populist issues. A people that are not divided cannot be conquered.
Paid political instigators such as the MKO and the Monarchist are witnessing an Iranian population with political wisdom and knowledge not susceptible to false propaganda and dictatorial movements packaged as patriotic or secular movements.
Mr. Rohani is a clever, educated and progressive clergy and a political insider in the regime. Yet his success on nearly all issues is dependent on his ability to redirect Iranian politics from the religious Mashrooeh approach to secular and legal Mashrooteh approach.
The Iranian political system has been monopolized by Islamic Ideologs with minimal support in the Iranian population. The bottom line of pursuing the so called Principalists ideas and Islamic rules in Iran is a county that is a socioeconomic mess preconditioned for total destruction.
Mr. Rohani's election should be more celebrated by the Principalists than the Reformists camps in Iran. In the event of Iranian destruction the Principalist have the most to lose.
- The current Inflation rate of 30% to 60% is a precondition for Hyperinflation exceeding 1000s of percent and destruction of Iran. Standard Macroeconomic policies for inflation of this magnitude are painful and will worsen the political situation in Iran. In a nutshell, extracting this level of inflation out of an economy literally requires a significant suppression of economic activity that will worsen the already troublesome high rates of unemployment. Loosening and lessening of the international sanctions and availability of foreign exchange may assist in subsidizations of some goods and services that might reduce the inflation rate temporarily. Yet long term solution to a problem of this magnitude requires a massive increase in production of goods and services which cannot be done overnight together with many Islamic restrictions on production and consumption etc. Mr. Rohani must be careful not to overpromise and under deliver on this issue.
- Current unemployment rates exceeding 20% represents failure and near collapse of the private sector. The public sector through government revenues has more or less maintained its employment level. Iran like many Persian Gulf countries is still an oil company and not a rational economy.
Today's Iran has a massive amount of human capital and other economic resources which should allow the country to have significant economic performance. Yet utilization of economic resources requires business formation. On a daily basis the Principalist opportunists in Iran arrest and prosecute business operators of all kind or withhold permits for many other business activities. In a nutshell this is committing economic suicide.
- International sanctions have had adverse effect on many private businesses and private parties in Iran. Iranians all over the world are on their last breath tolerating adversities in their lives caused by the Iranian government.
- Iranians with skills or capital or significant assets in Iran are continually leaving Iran and forming businesses and communities outside Iran.
- Iranian Diaspora in millions, who have settled in other countries, is fearful of a simple visit to their motherland or resettling in Iran.
- Internationally there are political elements in the west who intend to break Iran into pieces. Their intent is realistic because Iran under the current conditions is breakable. The 51% who voted for Mr Rohani in Iran were rejecting the so called Islamic restrictive and dogmatic approach propagated by the Iranian government. Destabilizing a regime that has minimal support among its population is not an impossible act.
- Throughout its history Iran has never lost any of its territories by secession. Yet the dissatisfaction with the current regime has preconditioned the country for secessionists' movements.
- People of Iran feel forever disgraced with punishments such as stoning of women or cutting off hands or floggings or marginalizing women etc. Iranians have the most civilized culture among the people of the world. The punishments of the sharia law were intended for certain citizens of Arabia who were the most barbaric people on earth at the time of Prophet Mohammad and do not fit the Iranian culture. Sharia must be discussed in Mosques not by the government.
Per Bernard Lewis , the fourth Century Roman historian Amminamus Marcellinus has the following to say about desert people of south Arabia in 4th Century.
"The Inhabitants of all districts are savage and warlike, and take such pleasure in war and conflict, that one who loses his life in battle is regarded as happy beyond all others. For those who depart from this life by a natural death they assail with insult, as degenerate and cowardly. "
Recently the regime operators have been referring to the greatness of the Iranian culture and Islamic principles. The core and the kernel of Iranian culture are the ethical teachings of prophet Zarathustra. In presenting his monotheistic approach' Zarathustra emphasized respect for other religions and beliefs. Persecution of the Bahais and antagonism of Christians and the Jews and the Sunnis in Iran is inconsistent with the core belief of Iranians and Iranian culture.
The election of Rohani, and defeat of the Islamic approach of Morsi in Egypt and problems for Erdogan in Turkey clearly indicate that populations who are interested in spirituality of Islam are not necessarily interested in Islamic rulings and laws.
Back in the 1980s the ideological regimes of the Soviet Union and China found themselves at a crossroad as well. China decided to gradually loosen up on its efforts to enforce the full version of the communist ideology, The Soviet Union on the other hand vacillated between actual change and talk of change (Glasnost and Perestroika). In the long run China became a success and the Soviet Union became a miserable failure.
The survival of Iran as a nation requires a 180 degrees turnaround on a number of socioeconomic and political issues. In a nutshell Iranians need to reestablish their pluralism and move in the direction of legal secularism.
A large number of Iranian problems including a significant portion of the economic problems can be solved by redirecting the political direction of Iran. The Iranian government can utilize the political system in Turkey as a template for change. Without a quick and drastic turnaround in the Iranian approach, the current regime and the country as a whole are within a short distance of implosion.
The recent Iranian election reflected the political maturity of the population and exhibits the fact that Iranians are not interested in another revolution and would be satisfied with reforming the current system. The so called principalists should consider this as an important opportunity for their survival.
About the author: P.F. Fauhaum is a retired economist; BA in economics from Northern Illinois University and MA in Economics from university of Illinois. Post graduate studies in Economics, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Branch. Formerly lecturer in economics in Harper college of Illinois and Northern Illinois University.