Iranian Economy: Maserati Mullahs, Porsche Bazaris, IMF Salafis………….

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Three decades later, under a leadership that promised the masses greater social and economic equality, such ostentatious displays of disparity have become far more commonplace. …… And how the situation in Iran’s capital compares statistically to any other major city may not be as important as the perception it creates, especially in a society whose rulers still govern in the name of the oppressed. “I know people have the right to enjoy their money,” said Hamid, a 32-year-old accountant. “But when there are many who can’t afford bread and basic necessities in this city, seeing a multimillion-dollar car on the street tells you something is very wrong with our economy.” The source of wealth in Iran, and Tehran in particular, raises a lot of eyebrows. “No one knows where it comes from,” says a graduate student of economics……. Last year, Porsche opened a dealership in Tehran’s western suburbs to great fanfare……Porsche’s successful entry into the Iranian market has encouraged other manufacturers to make similar plans. Roughly a year after Porsche began its operations in the Islamic Republic, an Italian business daily revealed that Maserati, Fiat’s high-end brand, aims to open a dealership through a representative in Tehran next year. ………The Shargh report was quoted widely by media outlets representing every side of the Iranian political spectrum, all echoing concerns about the ungodly gap between rich and poor………..”

Unemployment in Iran is officially in double digits, and the true figures are almost certainly higher than official figures. Poverty and inequality are still as important issues as they were in 1979. The mullahs, having defeated their leftist partners of the Revolution, have failed to solve the main economic issues that created the revolution. The Western sanctions are partly responsible (sanctions always hurt ordinary folks and not the elites they are supposed to hurt, and the Western powers know that). It is wise for the regime to remember that the Arab uprisings this past year were mostly not inspired by God, they were inspired by repression, economic hardships, and flagrant economic disparities among people. Iran nowadays is close to having all three pre-requisites for another uprising, the recent IMF accolades notwithstanding.
(The IMF and the other international financial organizations have a kind of tunnel vision: they see only their models, if they are being followed or not. In that sense they are as zealous as any Salafi. They are probably secret Tea Baggers).