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Iran Eyewitness: Farhad on Life in Tehran, the Economy, and the Revolutionary Guards

On Saturday, "Farhad" spoke with an EA correspondent. This is a transcript of his remarks:

I have just returned from a trip to Tehran one or two weeks ago and was shocked by the depressed atmosphere there. I travel to Iran annually, but I have never experienced such a mood, not even last year.

Prices are soaring, and 90% of all discussions are about the high costs for living. Some examples: fares for a trip with a Taxi Telefoni (like the taxis you have in the West) rose from 4000 Toman ($4) last year to 7000 Toman ($7) this winter. A pound of dried figs costs 12,000 Toman ($12), a portion of labou (beet root) sold on the street costs 4000 Toman ($4). One of my relatives has been renting an appartement for 500,000 Toman ($500), that has risen to 700,000 Toman ($700) since last year.

>Prices in Dubai, where I was afterwards, are much lower compared to Tehran. People are especially depressed, because they see no way out of inflation, and no improvement is in sight.

Businesses are down due to sanctions because of huge difficulties in importing raw material or spare parts. Those with 50 to 100 employees work at 30% of their normal capacity. Many of them are forced to dismiss their workers also due to the bad situation for domestic orders.

I am involved in obtaining spare parts for building machines. Here are the difficulties in Germany: exports from 10,000 to 40,000 Euros must be announced to the authorities, and higher sums need a special authorisation, which means additional bureaucracy.

The gap between the Government and the people is deepening. People are distressed by the oppression and bad economic situation. There are three main reasons for this general decline: the expert groups, who have always run the Islamic Republic in its economic, political and cultural domains, have turned their back on the regime because of its brutality and disgust for the people. No one wants to cooperate with government forces, if he is not forced to do so. Second, many experts have been replaced by illiterate, non-expert Ahmadinejad cronies, which has led to the decline of general affairs.

Third, many IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps] forces have turned their back on the government as well for the above-mentioned reasons. Contrary to general belief, the IRGC is not a monolithic bloc but is composed of supporters of several political camps, i.e. pro-hardliners, pro-[the late Grand Ayatollah] Montazeri, pro-Rafsanjani etc.

People always said this regime will last, but this time they said it cannot go on like this in the long-term. The general situation is near explosion, which could happen at any point. A major deterioration is to be expected in two or three months, when the impact of subsidy cuts gets real, i.e. when the people are confronted with the new power or water bills. The same goes for the start of subsidy cuts for gasoil and other energy sources, which has begun today. The impact for businesses is not predictable yet, but it will be grave as well.

Though subsidy cuts are necessary, especially with regard to energy sources, the time chosen by the government is very unfavourable, because of the general alienation of the people and the negative impact of sanctions on the economy.

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    EA WorldView - Home - Iran Eyewitness: Farhad on Life in Tehran, the Economy, and the Revolutionary Guards
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    Response: Kinezjologia
    EA WorldView - Home - Iran Eyewitness: Farhad on Life in Tehran, the Economy, and the Revolutionary Guards
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