Pain Is Always Pain

Apparently, the people are against a Shia-dominated system, but the majority are happy with the condition as they are silent and have made no consistent and united protest. They go to the pilgrimages in the Iraqi deserts bare foot. On the election day, they make epic stories for those who doubt their sincerity, and whom they consider as the cause of their dark days and destruction of the country.

By Amirali Motevalli 

  

In a country in which people’s ongoing poverty is seen as God’s blessing, drought and shortage of water is linked to women’s headscarf, the chief justice loots billions of Toman from the national wealth but no one can say anything, killers and thieves are managing and running the country so that they can share something from the revolution’s dining table, elites are imprisoned and hanged with pride, religious epic stories are made from participation in genocides in other countries, unemployment and poverty have upward trend, and its people are occupied with the philosophy of choosing between bad and worse, will anything be stable? 

Apparently, the people are against a Shia-dominated system, but the majority are happy with the condition as they are silent and have made no consistent and united protest. They go to the pilgrimages in the Iraqi deserts bare foot. On the election day, they make epic stories for those who doubt their sincerity, and whom they consider as the cause of their dark days and destruction of the country. Our lives have become paradoxical. One day, they carry placards to protest the death of a mutilated girl, whereas one day before, they issue a public notice for non-registration of the refugee children of the same age. 

They call Trump as the most stupid president of the world. However, they themselves accept someone like Ahmadinejad as their president, who, during 8 years, took the country to the age of Abaddon and looted the country one century back, or their representative in the parliament dresses up like Abbas ibni Kharnas (a comic character). They do not see the high rate of inflation and exchange rate to dollar. 

It might be interesting that most of us, the Iranians, belong to the limited number of people who enjoy watching and being spectators. We watch hanging, flogging, embezzlement and looting of the country. And, finally, we always wait from a miracle to happen and a hidden hand to help and solve everything the way we want so that we can enjoy our lives without any interruption. Not paying attention to the country while it is destroyed and the next generations’ future is being ruined, and waiting for Obama and Trump, and... to help us are some of the examples of what I am saying. 

I remember that when I was at school/university, after reading the history book, we would subconsciously start hating the Qajar dynasty, whom we thought had created a lot of issues for this country. Unfortunately, forty years after the revolt, which was named revolution of the poor and which was staged by the foreigners/strangers, we can see that today’s people are indifferent to their future and their country’s future. It happens despite the fact that we know that the ruling regime has done more harm to this country than the Qajar dynasty. For example, despite the humiliation and disgrace and punishment, many get caught in the queues for a basket of goods. People get injured and killed under each other’s feet, but they continue what they do with too much greed, without thinking about their acts. 

One day, as part of their national obligation and duties, they cast their majority votes for the system. The next day, they raise hue and cry because of the prevailing situation. Not unlike our parents, who were happy by the slogans of free oil, water and electricity many years ago and did not know what they wanted, we are indifferent to what may happen to our children and are mere spectators. 

We have heard that one of the drawbacks of socialist economic systems is that they bring poverty. On the other hand, capitalist economic systems widen the class differences and social injustice. It is not interesting to know that the Islamic Republic has both of these drawbacks at once, without showing the positives of any of them. 

Here, we will look at the blessings of the forty-year rule of the peace-loving people and those who are representing the Mahdi: Looking at the statistics, we can see that in 1977/1978 per capita income of the Iranians was nine times higher than 1965/1966. In 1998/1999, per capita income of the Iranians was twice that of South Koreans. Then, per capita income in Iran was $2,146, whereas it was $1,041 for South Koreans. In 2012, per capita income in Iran was $4,524, whereas it was $22,424 for South Koreans. As a result of the wrong and unwise policies of the Islamic Republic, the situation has got worse and it has a downward graph. It should be noted here that the current regime’s income is many folds of the total revenue from oil for the entire duration of its use, from its discovery until today. However, we see that, unfortunately, currently Turkey’s per capita income is higher than two folds of Iran’s per capita income. 

Based on statistics, having 68 types of minerals (non-oil), 37 thousand billion tonnes of identified resources, and 57 thousand billion tonnes of potential resources, our country is among the top fifteen resource-rich countries and is one of the rich countries in terms of mineral wealth. But why is the condition like this? 

According to the studies conducted by the Office of Economy of the Islamic Parliament Research Centre, as reported by the Fars News, in 2013/2014, with 9 percent share, Iran had the third largest known oil field, and with 17 percent share, it had the second largest gas field in the world. It ranks first in terms of zinc resources, third in terms of copper, ninth in terms of iron ore, tenth in terms of uranium, and eleventh in terms of lead. It is the ninth largest producer of iodine. In other words, housing one percent of the world’s population, Iran has more than seven percent of the world’s natural resources. We have not taken into consideration the revenue from export of wood, carpet, electricity, farm products, etc. Despite all these, why are the people getting more and more in trouble? 

Despite all these, in 2016/2017, Iran’s share in the overall foreign investment was only 0.17 per cent. Given the high capacity, this share is next to nothing (ten per cent of the world’s natural resources and one per cent of the world’s population). Where does the problem lie? 

With this short foreword, now we will focus on the record card of the system/government, which is supposed to support the poor: 

- According to the official statistics, 40 million Iranians live under the absolute and relative poverty line. According to the Fararu, in 2013/2014, Iran had the fourth position in terms of inflation. Nonetheless, according to the Daily Sharq, Iran has the highest inflation rate in the Middle East. 

- According to Iran Economy, Iran stands next to Venezuela on the Poverty Index. - Based on its Corruption Perception Index, International Transparency has ranked Iran 131 out of 167 countries. 

- Based on the Global Hunger Index, Iran ranks 92 among the 104 countries that struggle in this area. Journal of Banking and Finance has detailed this topic. 

- According to Sputnik, one third of Iranians live under poverty line. 

- Before the revolution, people who had jobs could get long term loans to buy house. The average price for an apartment unit was less than ten year salary of an employee. Is it the same today? 

- According to Fars, Iran ranks 168 among 177 countries with reference to the Economic Freedom Index. 

- Tasnim News: Iran’s economic risk-taking capability remained 7 in 2015/2016. 

- Jam-e-Jam: Based on People’s Satisfaction Index, the United Nations placed Iran at 112 among 154 countries in the world – that is, we are among the sixty percent unsatisfied people in the world. 

- Arsalan Falahipoor: According to an annual survey based on Life Quality Index in 194 countries, Iran ranked 150 in 2010. 

- Based on the Social Welfare Index, Iran ranks 101 among 142 countries. 

- According to some reports, Iran is among the top ten countries with respect to the Hardship Index. 

- According to Radio Zamaneh report, the number of unemployed people in Iran has been estimated ten million. We should remember that according to the Bureau of Statistics, if a person works for one hour a week, he /she is considered as employed. Regardless of this imperfect definition, based on the level of strikes, bankruptcies and... we can imagine the hidden aspect of a much horrifying situation. 

- On average, five workers lose their lives each day in Iran. It does not cause any reaction from the government or among the people. 

- According to some reports, with respect to average income, Iran ranks second from the last among the 27-member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization. 

- We can probably say that one of the disastrous developments as a result of the revolution was that clerics took over the judiciary. During Raza Shah’s time, judiciary was taken away from clerics by creating a new ministry of justice. In December 1978/January 1979, clerics, such as Ayatullah Khadami, were the first ones to establish the Sharia Courts, without any regards to the constitution – that is, they established Sharia Courts even before the revolution. The first judge of the Sharia Court in the Islamic Republic was Khalkhali, who has a spectacular record. Clerics like him took the control of the judiciary. 

- According ISNA, in 2016/2017, given the large number of cases in front of the judiciary (15 million cases), and complaints, many of the cases were labelled ‘open’ and were put aside for the following year. 

- According to a report by the Online Economy, in 2016/2017, the number of cases in circulation within the judiciary system was twelve million. 

- Iran has the second highest number of journalist prisoners. With respect to freedom of press, it ranks 191. In addition, according Reporters Without Borders, Iran ranks 169 among 179 countries, next to Uzbekistan, Somalia and Equatorial Guinea. 

- In terms of capital punishment, Iran ranks second in the world and first in the Middle East. 

- According to a report by Tabnak, Iran ranks fourth in terms of the number of prisoners/population ratio. According to Mehr News Agency, in 1979/1980, Iran’s population was 36 million and its prison population was about eight thousand. However, currently, while Iran’s population is double of 1979/1980, its prison population is 27 folds. The Islamic Republic of Iran is among the top ten countries with highest number of prisoners. 

- According to Galop, Iran ranks tenth with in terms of rate of robbery/theft. 

- Safety/security and morality have left Iran. According to the judicial authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, there is an annual increase of twenty percent to Iran’s prison population. This number has reached 217 thousand. According to the official figures in the Islamic Republic, 43 percent of the prisoners have drug-related cases, whereas 27 per cent are thieves/robbers. 

- According to Tabnak, Iran ranks fifth in terms of the use of industrial drugs, whereas it stands first in terms of the use of opium. 

- According to a report by Parsina, Iran occupies the 133rd position among the 162 countries in terms of Global Peace Index, which in a way also shows the level of safety/security in the country. 

- According to Legatum Institute, Iran stands 125 among 142 countries in terms of national security and personal safety. 

- According to the Central Insurance Institute, our country ranks 189 among 190 countries in terms of road safety and accidents. In this regard, Sierra Leone in Western African is the only country that has worse condition that Iran. 

- Our roads are the fifth most dangerous in the world. Tens of thousands of Iranians – between twenty and thirty thousand – lose their lives on these roads every year. The average death toll from road accidents annually exceeds the average casualties of each year during the Iran-Iraq war. 

- According to Afkar News, Iran occupies the fourth position in terms of divorce. 

- Iran is among the leading countries in terms of embezzlement and looting public property. 

- According to a report by the US State Department, Iran is the starting point on the route and destination for people smuggling for the purpose of forced labour and sexual exploitation. 

- According to Etemad, in an open session of the Parliament, Head of the Commission on Health openly and explicitly complained about bribery and corruption in municipality. At the same time, Global Economy reported that one third of people in the Middle East deal with bribery. It is interesting that much of this happens in the Islamic countries. 

- With regard to lying, we are familiar with the situation. When the economic condition in the country reaches the crisis point, individuals have to have too much focus on standards. A father promises to take his child to the amusement park after the day work or on the weekend. However, he is made to work during the hours that he/she should spend with his family. The child falls asleep while waiting for his/her father. While he/she is waiting for his/her father and is anxiously waiting to go the amusement park, he/she subconsciously sees the father as a liar, who has not kept his promise. Parents are kids’ childhood heroes. When the conception of a hero is mixed with lying, the child also learns to lie and this cycle continues. 

Here, let us not talk about the numerous lies of the leading figures of the system/state and the leading figures of Shia. They never act upon their promises. However, it changes nothing and the discerning people wait in long queues to vote for the system. 

- According to Entekhab, only during four years (2009/2010 – 2013/2014) the use of Tramadol has increased four folds. 

- According to Salamat News, researches conducted in 2000s show that psychological issues have increased 63 per cent. Noorbala adds, ‘Unfortunately, we cannot deny the upward graph of the psychological issues in the country. This figure is increasing and may reach 40 per cent and gradually mental disorder will gain the first position among other diseases that Iranians suffer from. 

- According to the deputy head of the Iranian Cancer Association, Iran ranks fourth in terms of the spread of cancer. 

- In terms of health and wellbeing, Iran ranks 67 among 142 countries in the world and ranks 15 in Asia. 

- According to Entekhab News, Infertility is 7 per cent higher in Iran compared to its average in the world. Infertility rate among couples in Iran is higher than twenty per cent. 

- Tasnim News: Unfortunately, people’s complaint about medical malpractice is increasing. After gynaecologists, surgeons and anesthetists have the highest number of complaints targeted at them. 

- According to Salamat News, most of the medical equipment imported into the country are second hand and have passed their expiration dates. For example, stressing the need for a close oversight/monitoring of medical equipment, Mr Raza Shahriar Kamrani, one of the members of the executive board of the Orthopaedic Association drew the attention to the use of non-standard and counterfeit screws that are implanted in patients’ bodies and which have many side effects. 

- Most of the pharmaceutical drugs that are smuggled into the country are from the drugs that have not been scientifically approved. Even the countries that produce them cannot use them. 

- According to Kayhan, the treatment of every one percent of level two and level three burns costs up to five million Toman. A patient with twenty per cent level three burn will have to spend about forty million Tomans. Most of the dressing of wound and skin transplant are not covered by health insurance. In the best-case scenario, only one out of two patients with sixty per cent burn has the chance of survival. Head of the Burn Research Centre at the Medical Sciences University says: It is not clear who is the custodian of patients with burn and the teaching curriculum from nursing to general practitioner and to specialisation has major issues. 

According to FANA, patients with burn in Iran are eight times higher than the world average. Emphasising that patients need help and support, Head of the Association for Supporting Patients with Burn said: Until the end of 2013/2014, there should be two thousand and four hundred beds ready for patients with burn while in the present we have only 1500 beds for this purpose. It means that we offer service with less than fifty percent of the required beds available. 

- Bartarinha writes: Seven thousand and five hundred people die every year because of hospital infection. 80 per cent of such infections can be prevented simply by washing hands. 

- Air pollution takes the lives of thousands each year. Some of the cities in Iran are among the most polluted cities of the world. However, there is no effective measure in place. 

- According to Tabnak, with more than 2600000 illegal downloads, Iran tops the list of intellectual copy right violation. 

- According to a report by the Iran Economy, Head of the Committee on Water of the Parliamentary Commission on Farming has said that water has no value in Iran. He has added: In terms of water management, Iran ranks 132 among 133 countries; one step left to the end. 

- The condition of drought, drying up of rivers and dams is clear to everyone. 

- According to Iran Diplomacy, Iranian passport is among the least valuable passports, only next to Angola, Djibouti and Myanmar. 

- Head of the Organization for Literacy, pointed out that we have 20 million illiterate or those who have primary level of literacy. 

- BBC wrote: Iran ranks 51 among 76 countries in terms of education standard. 

Policies of the Islamic Republic on higher education and appointment/selection of the academic staff are disastrous. Some of the best academics of the country have either been expelled or retired. At the same time, thousands enroll in bachelor and master degrees through special quotas. Without sitting any entry exam, through scholarships, they are accepted in to the doctorate degrees. They immediately join the academic staff of universities. Subsequently, they give illiterate educated individuals to the society. 

- Millions of Iranian kids cannot get education because of economic and social challenges. According to figures from the Central Statistics, during the 2009/2010 – 2010/2011 academic year, more than 30135000 students could not get education. This figure makes more than 37 per cent of the entire student population in Iran. The figures show that due to the existing incompetency in the Islamic Republic, the future generations have dark days awaiting them. 

- According to Radio Zamaneh, Iran ranks 154 among 167 countries with regard to Democracy Index, which the Economist prepares every year and did so in 2017. 

- The mismanagement of the country’s oil wells and not injecting gas into them on time has resulted in the dry up of a bigger part of these oil wells. 

- According to Online News, in terms of gender gap, Iran ranks 139 among 144 countries. 

- The destruction of Iran’s forest is definite. For example, more than 350000 hectares of the forest in Mazandaran and Gilan are at the disposal of only two wood and paper factories, Mazandaran and Nekachob. According to the figures released by these factories, about 400000 square meters of the most precious and valuable forest are consumed by these factories. According to the graph which was shows by the Mazandaran Wood and Paper Factory at the International Environment Exhibition, during 11 years, at least 200000 trees have been cut each year. In total, the Mazandaran Wood and Paper Factory has cut two million and five hundred thousand trees during six months. This small comparison makes it clear why Europe is getting greener and Iran is getting drier. There is no measure in place to prevent it from happening. 

- Environment is at the brink of collapse. The increase in population and motor vehicles, air pollution and waste production, destruction of forests, drying up of dams and decrease in animal population are parts of a puzzle which only shows the current situation but also depicts a picture of the future. 

- According to the Iran’s Central Bureau of Statistics, in 1976/1977, Iran’s population was 33 millions and 700 thousands. Ten years later, it reached 49 millions and 400 thousands. According to the latest census, in 2011/2012 the country’s population was estimated to be 75 millions and 150 thousands. This population produces 50 million tons of waste each day, of which only 5 per cent ends up in the recycling plants. 95 per cent of the waste is either dumped in the landfills, using traditional methods, or is left in the open. 

- Iran’s share in the Caspian Sea is seriously under threat. Through their mutual contracts, the countries around this Sea are practically taking Iran’s substantial share. Iran’s share from the sea’s 3 billion ton of oil (24 billion barrels) and 3100 billion cubic meters of gas has been almost zero. 

Other countries around the Caspian Sea have divided its oil and gas resources almost entirely among themselves and have left nothing for Iran. These countries consider only 11 to 13 per cent of the coastal areas belonging to Iran, but only the areas which are almost without oil and gas. Further, none of the strategic oil pipelines from Caspian Sea to the open seas has passed through Iran. As a result, not only does Iran lose billions of dollars each year but its strategic position is also weakened. 

- The policies and approaches of the Islamic Republic toward other religions is extremely inhumane. Iran is among the top ten countries that persecute Christians. Its behavior toward others, such as Jews and Zoroaster's, is more inhumane. For example, in accordance with Iran’s constitution, if a member of a religious minority family coverts to Islam, rest of the family will inherit nothing from their property. In Yazd City, members of the minority groups are not allowed to use the swimming pools that are used by the Muslims. 

- The approach and behavior toward Baha’is and atheists are even more inhumane. Baha’is are not allowed to enroll in the universities and many of them have been hanged. 

- In 1976/1977, there were twenty free countries in the world. According to the Freedom House, today, there are 148 free or partly free countries in the world. Unfortunately, Iran is not among them. 

- Election in Iran is undemocratic, even compared to the elections in the Islamic countries, such as Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey. In all these countries, free or partly free elections are held, in which people from all the political spectrum, left to right, seculars and religious, can take part. Based on evidence, talking about the participation of secular parties/individuals in election in Iran is more like a joke. 

- According to Entekhab, unfortunately, due to the implementation of unprofessional policies, Iran tops the list in terms of immigration of elites/knowledge flight. About 25 per cent of educated/qualified Iranians are living in the developed countries. According to the figures from IMF, 150 to 180 thousand educated/qualified Iranians decide to leave Iran each year. In terms of brain drain, Iran ranks first among 91 developing and less developed countries. Immigration of 150 to 180 thousand Iranians with higher education is the equivalent of 150 billion dollars leaving the country each year. Though Iran’s GDP was negative in 2012/2013 and 2013/2014, it stood first in terms of the export of human capital. 

- The ideology of the Islamic Republic clashes with most forms of art, from sculpture to painting to dance and music. It does not see them in positive light. The Islamic Revolution coincided with the burning down of cinema halls, which are seen as the manifestation of immorality. Between 1963/1964 and 1978/1979, the number of cinema halls in the country had increased many folds; it had reached 500 to 600 halls. During the Islamic Republic, not only did the number not increase, but it also decreased considerably. According to some, it had reached 260 to 315 functioning cinema halls. The notable point is that given its population and the latest global standards, Iran needs about 7000 cinema halls. Given the current number, 260, there is a deficit of 6700 cinema halls. 

- Iran’s cultural heritage is close to destruction, but no attention is being paid to this valuable heritage. Even some of the custodians of the heritage are trying to loot the heritage. Last year, the Hamshahri Newspaper reported that more than 47000 documents had been missing from the Cultural Heritage Organization and some of them were being sold on Manuchehri Road. Moreover, many cultural and historical items from Jiroft and other historical sites have been stolen, or the antiquities are under the control of Sepah and its stooges. 

- The animosity of the Islamic Republic with Iran’s identity and culture is surprising. Some of them explicitly disrespect and insult Iran’s national identity. They ordered to bring down the statues of Arash the Archer and Ariobarzanes of Persis from the squares in the cities. They removed the name of the Cyrus the Great from the names of streets/roads in the country. For example, first they removed Ferdowsi’s poems from the walls of a big square in Mashhad. They, then, wrote verses from the Quran on them. We do not know if foreign troops had occupied Iran, they would have shown so much animosity with Iran’s identity. 

- A cursory look at the large budgets of the Islamic institutions raises this question that for what projects/programs of public interest are these huge sums spent? An analysis of the various statistics and a closer look at the dominance of religion, distance from religion, hypocrisy, lie and tens of other instances, indicate the ineffective use of such huge sums during the four decades. Below is only a quick look at the 2016/2017 budget for these institutions: According to Parsine website, the institutions linked to the seminaries have separate budget items. Policy Making Council of Seminaries for Sisters, 195 billion toman; Mustafa International University, 239 billions; Service Centre for Seminary, 582 billions; Islamic Propagation Office, 96 billions; High Council of Seminaries, 328 billions; Planning Council for Management of Seminaries in Khorasan, 63 billion toman. The Institute for Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini’s Works, which is managed by his grandson, Sayed Hassan Khomeini, has 59 billion toman budget. Islamic Culture and Relations Organization, which is a sub-part of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and manages the cultural counselling through Iran’s embassies throughout the world, has 230 billion toman budget. From this amount, 25 billions are allocated for the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic School of Thought, 36 billions for Ahl Al-Bayt World Assessment, and 7 billion toman for Saadi Foundation. However, the Islamic Propagation Office, whose head is directly appointed by the supreme leader, has a larger share; it receives 314 billion toman. From this amount, 50 billion is allocated for the Artistic Department, which is a sub-section of the Organization. Among its sub-sections, we can name the Institute for Research and Culture of Islamic Revolution, Dairatul Maarif Foundation, Research Centre for Islamic Culture and Thought, Policy Making Council of Imam Jomeh, Centre for Managing the Affairs of Mosques, Setad-e-Ighameh Namaz, and Islamic Centre for Computer Science Research. The disorganized economic, political, social and culture conditions, contrary to the progress made by the neighboring countries and the government’s ongoing attack and propagation against Iranian identity have taken the situation to a point where there is a risk of disintegration in the case of any power vacuum. 

  

- In the Islamic Republic, clergies have a total control over the government. During the previous government, Khomeini had a lot of manoeuvres against capitalism. However, now they have changed capitalism to mullaism. The system has been organized in such a way that an individual, Vali Faghih, controls everything. All the other affairs, including people’s/nation’s rights, are secondary and come under Vali Faghih. The constitution and structure of the Islamic Republic are so that any fundamental change in them becomes impossible. Any fundamental and basic change in the Islamic Republic will lead to its collapse.  

- Under the Islamic Republic, both individual and collective freedom are suppressed in strongest terms and the Iranians are deprived of their basic rights. 

- Much of the attention of the law enforcement agencies is focused on the forceful and violent implementation of hijab (women’s dress code), rather than ensuring safety and security. Women are accused of violation of this religious dress code and are arrested on daily basis. Using helicopter, they conduct air monitoring of the rooftops, or their personnel search people’s rooftops and bring down/destroy their dish antennas. Women and children’s rights are being violated in organised and brutal ways. There are daily terrible and tragic incident because of the implementation of the laws that violate women and children’s rights. 

- Despite all these statistics, some time ago I read the following on Ayatullah Khamenei’s website, which was written in English:  

If US has any power, they better manage their country, tackle White Supremacy, rather than meddle in nations’ affairs. It is interesting that Twitter is filtered in the Islamic Republic; however, some officials within the office of the supreme leader use social media platforms, which have been made by infidels. In response to the supreme leader’s comments, it should be said that if some people in the United States believe in White Supremacy, under your leadership, the principle of your governance is based on the supremacy of Shia against other religions. While there might be a solution for supremacy of Shia, but how can we deal with the notion that Baha’is are ceremonially unclean or untouchable, for example? 

The supreme leader, from now onward, please pay some attention to yourself, rather than the US, so that there might be a miracle. Despite all these corruptions, poverty, destruction, and the existence of thieves who steal in billions, we still recommend patience for each other and recommend a distinction between bad and worse while we see that all the resources are being spent on Iraq, Syria, Venezuela and... Or a manager of your government steals the country’s entire wealth and goes to the US! 

However, for this humble person, broadcasting Shajarian’s song, Rabbana, is more important than changing a grave sleeping to canal sleeping and to desert sleeping. 

Whatever I am saying is at the level of your understanding. I am dying wishing for correct understanding. 

 

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