Iran’s economy: it’s not only about economics

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Tahir Mahmoud

Rabi' al-Thani 03, 1438 2017-01-01

Special Reports

by Tahir Mahmoud (Special Reports, Crescent International Vol. 45, No. 11, Rabi' al-Thani, 1438)

Unlike most other countries, Iran’s economy is deeply linked to its political and security situation. Without taking this aspect into consideration, its economis progress cannot be properly evaluated.

Every country’s economy is closely connected with political and security considerations, especially Iran’s. Here is why.

Since the United States and its allies were forced to sign a nuclear agreement with Iran in July 2015, the economy of Islamic Iran has become a major topic of discussion in the corporate and non-corporate media.

The overwhelming majority of articles and think-tank policy papers examining Iran’s economy deliberately ignore the link between its economic outlook and political and security considerations. Why? The simplified dogma of the current capitalist world order states that economics and politics are separate matters. This capitalist narrative provides political and pseudo-philosophical justification for doing business with such despotic regimes as that of Bani Saud in the Arabian Peninsula or General Augusto Pinochet’s military regime in Chile (1973–1990) on the basis of the “fact” that economics, business, and profit should not be mixed with political issues. It provides an excuse to prop-up subservient despots.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regimes get all the economic perks and easy access to the Western financial system not because they are economic wizards, but because they are subservient to the strategic demands and interests of imperialist powers. Their political and security servitude to global hegemons is the reason for their relative economic prosperity although this is at the expense of expatriate workers who are paid slave wages.

After signing the nuclear related agreement with Tehran, which was supposed to ease Iran’s business relations with international companies, in January 2016 Washington introduced a regulation that would require EU citizens who have visited Iran in the past five years, to get a visa prior to their arrival in the US. This restriction was not in place before the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the agreement is called, was signed and is clearly designed to discourage Western tourists from visiting Iran as well as businessmen from participating in Iran’s economic development. Of course this policy can be explained away only in security terms, but anyone with basic analytical skills and elementary research capability can clearly see that it is a tool to exert economic pressure.

This writer has learned, through years of experience, not to take seriously any report by Western journalists, academics, and activists on Iran’s economy if they ignore the political and security aspects that influence Tehran’s economic decisions. Economic sanctions are imposed on Islamic Iran due to its political and security principles. Therefore, disengaging Iran’s economy from political issues and presenting it on its own is a deliberate attempt to obfuscate reality.

There are some Muslims and many non-Muslims who criticize some of Iran’s economic policies, but to be valid such criticism must be fair and based less on political biases and more on sound economic principles. True, there is economic mismanagement in Iran. While in other countries a tweak to economic policy may bring about changes fairly quickly, in Iran’s case it might not produce the desired results or may even worsen the situation. Why?

The economic success of Iran would be a slap in the face of the capitalist economic dogma. The current global predatory powers would not allow a genuine Islamic-based economy to become successful as it would present a credible alternative to the current Western-imposed exploitative economic order. Therefore, Iran’s positive economic reforms or policy alterations will always be met with political and security based counter-policies by NATO regimes and their regional surrogates. What other Muslim country except Iran has had its scientists targeted and assassinated? None. If Israel and NATO see Iran’s scientific progress as a threat to their dominance, they definitely see its economic prosperity as a threat too.

Economics is a complex subject, where several tangible and non-tangible variables are involved. When the Western corporate media projects Islamic Iran as a “warmonger,” an “oppressive state,” or a state with an “uncertain future,” the governments or government-linked entities financing those media outlets are aiming to discourage foreign direct investment and encourage a flight of domestic capital to supposedly more stable Western dominated markets.

Therefore, next time any commentary appears about Iran’s economy from an Iranian, European, Arabian, or Canadian expert or academic, predicting the state of Iran’s economy or pontificating on how to improve its economic performance, it should be subjected to a litmus test. Check if that expert has made any reference to the political and security agenda of global economic giants in their interaction with Islamic Iran. If not, such analysis is fundamentally flawed and cannot be relied upon.

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