Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What do Iranian People Want?

What do Iranian people want? If you listen to someone like Ali Ansari, the director of the Islamic Republic funded Iranian Institute at University of St. Andrews, he seems to think the Iranian people are most concerned about the threat of the US neo-cons and hawks. If Ahmadinejad became president, according to Ansari, it was the Iranian public's reaction to the threatening policies of the hawks and neo-cons.

If you go along to meetings organised by the Islamic Republic funded CASMII group, then you would hear them claim what Iranian people want more than anything else is to get rid of sanctions. All of Iran's socio-economic and political problems are due to sanctions according to CASMII, and nothing to do with the plunder of Iran by a greedy and powerful clerical oligarchy.

If you talk to a journalist who has been to Iran, they will base their claim on a couple of interviews they carried out with some suspicious passer by, who was aware of the possible consequences of his words, and then anecdotes become a scientific poll. Like when Simon Tisdall claimed Ahmadinejad's popularity had soared to 70% after having interviewed Ahmadinejad's class mate :)

If you talk to a disgruntled Iranian exile, he or she will surely give you yet another view. The truth is what the above will claim is never a true representation of what the Iranian people want, it is an expression of what their own agenda is which they then try to present as what the Iranian population wants.

A more realistic study of listing what people in Iran really want however is actually to follow the presidential campaigns of Karrubi and Moussavi Khamenei.

If we consider the three main candidates for presidency, who will not be disqualified next week by the Guardian Council, to be Ahmadinejad, Mir Hossein Moussavi Khamenei and Mehdi Karrubi, [Mohsen Rezaii only came on board yestrday] then there is a lot we can learn from their promises to the people and what people demand from them in the meetings. More so with Mir Hossein Moussavi Khamenei and Mehdi Karrubi, since Ahamdinejad sees his chances of winning more in handing out freebies in election rallies, sudden pay rises for government workers and pensioners and of course the help of the Baseej, armed forces and the interior ministry which will do their best to manipulate the votes in his favour.

The other two however are going out of their way to appeal to the public and prevent a boycott of the elections. It is likely that around half of the eligible voters will decide to boycott an election which only allows approved candidates to stand and still cheats in the ballot boxes.

So lets look at the promises made by Karrubi and Mir Hossein Moussavi Khameneii and deduce what the Iranian people want and what their priorities will be. By no means am I saying that these two candidates will deliver on their promises, if they became the president, I am just saying to appeal to the Iranian public, below is a short list of what they have been promising to the public and it is a better gauge for what people in Iran want:

1) Improving the mis-managed economic situation and more accountability in state financial expenditure
2) More personal freedom for the youth and tolerance of the dissident civil and student movement
3) An end to morality patrols
4) An end to the widespread corruption at the very top.
5) Better relations with the rest of the world and getting back into the mainstream world rather than being allies of Sudan, North Korea, Syria etc.
6) An end to Guardian Council vetoing of election candidates
7) Enough of promoting Palestinian issues before Iranian interests

From what is said at the election rallies and interviews, one can also clearly see the red boundaries, that the candidates will not cross or even dare suggest that it is within the scope of a president's choices in Iran, these are for example nuclear energy and restoring relations with the United States.

With regards to restoring relations with the US for example, Mir Hossein Moussavi Khamaneii, in his interview with Timesonline, hints at his wish to talk to Obama, but also clearly spells out
' it is not up to the president to take strategic foreign policy decisions, which under Iran’s constitution are decided by the national security council'.

At the end of the day, no matter who becomes the next Iranian president and how they become the next president, the promises made on the above list, will remain promises just as we have seen in the past. To achieve the above promises and deliver what the Iranian people want, what is needed is to dismantle the theocracy and the rule by the clergy and move towards a democratic and secular state.


KK said...

Well written analysis, good work!

Lewis said...

This is more to do with your last two posts but I thought I put it in your latest post so more people can read it.

Referring to the absurd speech by Jon Snow at the Campaign Iran meeting. Imagine if he was living during the second world war and speaking at a meeting of appeasers.
It would be something like this:
'Germany has a great civilisation and it has given the world many composers, artists, scientists, poets, the very first printing machine in Europe comes from there blah, blah, blah when we meet with Nazi officials we should not think they have horns coming out of their heads, we should treat them with respect ....'

Arash said...

What does it matter what the candidates promise? None of them will ever be able to implement any progressive policies (even if they wanted to), with the Guardian Council being able to veto which ever laws they dislike.

At the end of the day, our people are just mere numbers and their wishes don't actually matter.

P.S: For added amusement always watch the BBC's interviews with passerbys in Iran. They *always* go for some bearded guy or a woman wrapped up in a chador who go on about American aggressiveness and how the IRI stand up for Iran. Classic.

Anonymous said...

واقعا جناب آذرمهر خود احمدي نژاد هم اين مزخرفاتي را كه مزدوران رژيم در گروهك كسمي ميگوين را نميگفت٠ ببينيد ليست چيزهايي كه احمدي نژاد وعده ميداد را

مشكلات ما نه از نظام و نه از مردم است. مردم و نظام ما بهترين است. مشكل ما يك گروهي از مديران هستند كه كشور را مال خود و ميراث خود مي‌دانند.
_ امتيازات ويژه‌اي در اختيار عده خاصي قرار دارد و ميلياردها ريال خرج دكورها و چيزهاي بي‌حاصل مي‌شود.
- سيستم مالي كشور مردم را به سمت دلالي سوق مي‌دهد
_ ثبات اقتصادي و برنامه‌ براي كشاورزان، كارگران، كارمندان و تجار و بازاريان نيست و امنيت خاطر يك برنامه با ثبات ندارند.
_ ٥ جوان نمي‌توانند ٥٠ ميليون وام بگيرند و يك دفتر مهندسي تاسيس كنند و توليد اشتغال نمايند.
_ شيوه مديريت بانكها كه با هزينه بالا و بازده كم اداره مي‌شود، پدر كشور را در آورده است
_ زد و بندهاي پشت پرده، سرمايه‌هاي مردم را جمع كرده و به آنها آسيب مي‌رساند.
_ مدل اقتصادي فعلي همه ثروتها را در يك نقطه متمركز نموده است و از همه جاي كشور نيروي انساني و ثروت در تهران جمع مي‌شود.
_ فضايي در كشور است كه همه حالت عصبي دارند و آرامش نيست و كسي نمي‌تواند براي زندگي خود برنامه‌ريزي كند
_ مردم به حرفهاي مسئولان اعتماد ندارند.
_ شكاف بين ملت و دولت افزايش يافته و به مرحله بحراني رسيده است

Azarmehr said...


I totally agree and in fact said it myself that they will not be able to deliver these promises, I am merely listing what the two candidates who are trying to appeal to the public in Iran are listing, as a better guideline to what Iranians really want rather than the jargon fed to Iran enthusiasts by these academics, journalists and CASMII outfits.

Arash said...

Yes, just to clarify, I wasn't saying that you were sticking up for the IRI, I was just reiterating your point about how the whole notion of "reformist" politics is a really pointless endeavour in the IRI.

I agree, one of the main reasons I hated the CASMII folk at the SOAS meeting was because an audience of impressionable (and non Iranian) students have gone away thinking that Iranians are actually HAPPY with the IRI and their only problem in the world are the sanctions, but as we know, nothing is further from the truth.

The misrepresentation and misinformation about what the majority of real, ordinary Iranians want is sadly quite common in the media. Organisations like CASMII and the SWP only add to this falsehood.

Azarmehr said...


Can you leave your email as a comment? I won't publish it but need to contact you about something.

saggezard said...

What Iranian people want does not matter to the Islamic regime and the regime is united in this matter in all camps. How the elections end up in Iran depends on how desperate the regime is. In the past twelve years years, if people are restless and seem uncontrollable then reformist are put in, if people are miserable and disoriented from poverty then hard liners are installed. The ministry of intelligence makes an assessment for the fittest winner and the turbaned echelon makes a decision based on that.

Anonymous said...

you pretty much sum it up right there, good post.

Winston said...

I think me and my family wants first and foremost freedom and democracy in Iran. Then higher and better life style. We deserve it.

the miserable genius said...

It's funny how Iranians who live abroad comment on things and develope theories of how the country should be governed and concepts of how it is currently governed.they just talk,talk tlak...

Azarmehr said...

So tell us what you do and what you want?