President Raeisi: Current state of price regulation not acceptable
Despite promising achievements in various fields including the significant growth in oil sales, increasing trade with Eurasian states, the current situation in regulating markets and prices is not acceptable, Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi said.
Speaking at the meeting of the Market Regulation Headquarters, Raeisi said launching and developing smart distribution systems, especially for essentials, can play an important role in controlling the market and prices, according to president.ir.
Emphasizing the importance of fair pricing of goods, especially basic items needed by the people, he noted, “People’s dignity is the government’s red line and should not be harmed; goods should reach the people in the easiest way and at the most appropriate prices.”
“The groups that have the authority to increase prices according to the regulations do not have the right to act arbitrarily in this regard and must submit their proposal to the market regulation headquarters so that after reviewing and considering the market conditions, their proposal can be decided upon,” Raeisi said.
He stressed the importance of market monitoring and the use of trade unions in this regard and said, “To monitor the market, if people and those in the market and trade unions and companies producing goods and services are involved in market control, then production and distribution will be very effective”.
Raeisi stated, “Market monitoring is very important and it is necessary to follow and control the prices of goods and services on a daily basis. It should not be neglected for even one day.”
“As far as possible, nationwide pricing of basic goods and people’s essentials should be avoided because sometimes the price of a commodity in a province is lower than its price in the capital,”
Taking over a state by a religious movement was basically inconceivable to most outside observers
By Mohammad Memarian*
An emeritus professor at University of Tehran once told me a story. In the early 1970s, when he was an aspiring scholar, he had a teacher in the Faculty of Sociology of the University of Tehran, a notable sociologist and a landlord who owned large tracts of fertile land in northern Iran. One day, word spread that he was selling his properties at discounted prices. One night over dinner at his house, my professor asked him why. The teacher made a prescient remark, which I quote verbatim: “The oil money has disturbed the structure of this country; this country is pregnant with major events.” Needless to say, he sold all his properties and emigrated with his family from Iran just in time.
As insightful as his insider remarks had been, the deeply turbulent situation of Iran in those times was not entirely obscured to outsiders, either. An Egyptian scholar once told me that even in the heyday of the Shah’s reign, there were “minority reports” in his country, indicating the explosive sociopolitical conditions of Iran, exemplified by a certain Ahmad Bahaulddin, who warned Anwar Sadat’s regime, “The situation in Iran is very worrying, and it’s not even as remotely stable as you might imagine.”
There was one more eminent example as well. In mid-1965, before 20,000 people at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai proclaimed, “An exceedingly favorable situation for revolution prevails today not only in Africa, but also in Asia and Latin America.”
That’s the story with which Jeremy Friedman, associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, begins his book, ‘Ripe for Revolution: Building Socialism in the Third World’. In five thrillingly detailed and analytically vibrant chapters, he looks into the historical trends which turned five specific countries into fertile lands for sociopolitical upheavals: Indonesia, Chile, Tanzania, Angola, and Iran. Each country provides a unique case in its own right. In his last chapter on Iran, provocatively titled, ‘Opiate of the Masses, or Stimulant?’, he also charts the wavering evolution of the Soviet attitude toward the role which religion could play against imperialism and capitalism. The book will be published next week by Harvard University Press, which graciously granted me an advance copy.
In an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Friedman elaborated on some of the core points of his chapter on a revolution which, in his words in the book, produced “one of the strangest outcomes of the Cold War: An anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, modernizing theocracy in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
*Mohammad Memarian is a staff writer at Iran Daily.
Quote from the book:
“Chapter 5 looks at the Iranian revolution and how Islamism came to replace socialism as the anti-imperialist ideology par excellence in the Middle East. I argue that it was a result of two key factors: First, the failure of socialism in developing world to establish itself as a viable method for producing economic development, justice, and national dignity; and second, the growth of Islamism in response to the midcentury popularity of socialism as an alternative, and potentially superior, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist ideology. In short, Islamism in Iran claimed to be able to succeed where socialism had failed.”
How do you see the role of “oil money” (and the Shah’s use of it) in making Iranian society ripe for revolution?
I think that the oil money impacted Iran in many ways, both domestically and internationally. In terms of Iran’s foreign policy, the oil wealth bolstered the Shah’s desire to make Iran the dominant power in the Middle East and a more important player on the world stage, which led to excessive spending on armaments and a greater role as the US “policeman” in the region, which exacerbated opposition. Domestically, the ability to rely on oil wealth reduced the need to rely on local production and tax revenues, which also led to a flood of imports as Iranian production became less competitive, and created a damaging dynamic between those who benefited from the flood of oil revenues from the government and spent it on luxury goods, and the vast majority of the population that was left out. The slowing of the Iranian economy in 1977-1978, especially in the wake of the breakneck growth produced by the elevated oil prices following the OPEC oil embargo, therefore created economic pain in an increasingly economically divided country.
How was it that outsiders were so blinded to Iran’s condition, as you have mentioned in the case of the Soviet Union, which “like most international observers, was quite late to realize the seriousness of events in Iran”?
It is important to keep in mind that there had not really been, to this point in the 20th century, an example of a religious movement taking over a state. This was something which was basically inconceivable to most outside observers, especially to the Soviets who subscribed to a rather schematic view of history in which history did not move “backwards,” say, from capitalism to feudalism. Meanwhile, the Shah, backed by an enormous military and the US and Israeli-trained SAVAK had quite effectively decimated the leftist opposition, which both the US and the Soviets saw as the likeliest source of political disruption. The Soviets, for one, also thought that, given the importance of Iran to the United States, Washington simply would not let the Shah fall, and indeed the Carter administration did consider the possibility of supporting a military coup to save the regime. One should not forget either that, as a rule, revolutions tend to surprise most observers as most people tend to believe in the perpetuation of some version of the status quo. Our natural biases tend to look for reasons to believe that it will continue.
In your opinion, why did the Arab states south of Iran, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, perhaps to the exclusion of Oman, not happen to be fertile grounds for socialist aspirations?
In many ways, these states are not really comparable to Iran in terms of the size of their populations, the diversity of their economies, the ethnic diversity of their populations, and their levels of urbanization and education. In many respects a country like Turkey was much more comparable to Iran, and indeed Turkey has had much more serious leftist politics at times, though those tendencies have been typically repressed. Iran also is closer to Russia and has long historical and cultural relations with it, especially in the northwest of the country where many Iranians had studied and worked in the Caucasus region, where they were often exposed to socialist thought and political activity.
How do you analyze the genesis and evolution of economic thought among Shia scholars? What motivated them to think about economics? And how was the socialist-Islamist theoretical encounter in pre-revolution years?
I am not an expert on Shia theology or jurisprudence. However, what is important regarding the socialist-Islamist encounter is that the push for socialism was built upon the disruption of lifestyle, society, and the economy that came from the influence of globalization and imperialism. This led to efforts in many parts of the world to use existing bodies of knowledge and modes of thought, especially those which were popular and well-established such as religion, to come up with answers. This can be illustrated by the many thinkers in the Islamic world who sought to modernize Islam – and use Islam to modernize their societies in turn – in response to the overwhelming power of the European imperialists – think of Mohammad Abduh, Rashid Rida, and Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani, and later in places like Pakistan and Indonesia. Even within the USSR, there were those who wanted to use Islam to promote socialism, and thought it would be useful in making socialism popular by tying it to forms of local identity. In that sense, for those who, instead, wanted to modernize economics in order to save Islam (rather than use Islam to promote socialism) it was about using existing tools to respond to the new needs of society, and perhaps to prevent a slide into irrelevance or replacement, as evidenced by the experience of Ayatollah Taleqani in Tehran at the height of the Tudeh’s popularity among the youth.
You’ve described the creation of the Islamic Republic as “ironic” since Iran has been more “obsessed with the notion of foreign models” more than any country in the 20th century. Is it possible that some sort of frustration with the unfruitfulness of that aforementioned zealous obsession with imitation might actually be what triggered the Iranian society to improvise and innovate?
I think it was the failure of other models, or the perception of their inadequacy. See, for example, Khalil Maleki’s attack on the Soviet model, the opposition to Reza Shah’s attempt to employ the Turkish Kemalist model, the White Revolution and the Shah’s attempt to implement an American-advised modernization program. What all of these have in common is that they particularly antagonized the ulama.
You’ve correctly referred to the role of “core stories” of Shia Islam as distinctive tropes of the religion. It seems to me that the very concept of “Edaalate Alavi” (“Alid Justice?”) served, or could serve, as an important common ground between socialist and Islamist aspirations. How did the Soviets approach such ideas?
The Soviets were divided on whether to see such uses of Shi’ism as potential indications that religious forces could be allies or whether it would ultimately serve reactionary purposes, i.e., to reinforce religious authority and promote reformist alternatives to real economic transformation – essentially, a softer capitalism, instead of actual social control of the means of production. At a fundamental level, Marxism cannot accept the idea of justice from on high, because it doesn’t rely on morality or altruism, it relies on material interest. A religious concept of a just order, however, relies on the moral purity of the religious leaders. Ultimately, then, a notion of religious justice can serve as a way of preventing the proletariat from actually taking power.
Iran FM: Raeisi-Aliyev Ashgabat talks turning point in bilateral ties
Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the late November meeting between the Iranian and Azerbaijani presidents in Ashgabat and their talks were a turning point and a serious development in relations between the two friendly and brotherly countries.
He made the remarks in a meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku on Wednesday, Mehr News Agency reported.
Amir-Abdollahian conveyed the greetings by Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi to Aliyev.
The foreign minister reminded the Azerbaijani president of the invitation extended to him by his Iranian counterpart to visit Tehran.
Amir-Abdollahian arrived in Baku on Wednesday for a one-day visit to meet senior Azerbaijani officials, such as his counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov and Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament Sahiba Gafarova.
Describing as important the exchange of diplomatic missions between the two countries, Aliyev said the coincidence of Amir-Abdollahian’s first visit to the Republic of Azerbaijan with the end of 2021 and the beginning of the New Year gives the opportunity to review the two countries’ joint action plan for next year.
He emphasized that he had a cordial meeting with his Iranian counterpart in Ashgabat on the sidelines of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) summit.
“In that meeting, we saw once again that all opportunities are provided for the further development of relations between the two countries,” Aliyev added.
“During the meeting with the president of Iran in Ashgabat, the friendship and brotherhood of Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan were reaffirmed and the need to take further steps to develop relations in all political, economic, commercial and cultural fields was emphasized,” he underlined.
Commenting on the several meetings between the Iranian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers, Aliyev stressed the need for the continuation of close contacts, saying these meetings were of practical importance.
He added, “The agenda of bilateral cooperation between Iran and Azerbaijan is broad and I am confident that this cooperation will have good results.”
In an address to reporters upon his arrival in Baku, Amir-Abdollahian expressed great delight at the growing and developing relations between Iran and Azerbaijan.
He added, “We have diverse ideas for expanding ties and cooperation with Baku.”
The Iranian foreign minister said over the past three months, he had held numerous talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart and agreed upon a good framework for expanding bilateral cooperation, which will be finalized in the visit.
Following that, the two sides will witness an increase in exchange of economic, trade and cultural delegations.
Thousands bid farewell to late Iranian Ambassador to Yemen Irloo
Thousands of people participated in a funeral in the capital Tehran on Wednesday for the late Iranian Ambassador to Sana’a Hassan Irloo, who died of COVID-19 complications after some Saudi officials delayed his return home for medical treatment.
The funeral ceremony was attended by state and military officials, such as Commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Esmaeil Qa’ani and the IRGC’s second-in-command, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, according to Mehr News Agency.
Martyr Irloo had earlier this week been repatriated from Yemen amid a Saudi-led blockade of the war-torn Arab state to receive treatment at a hospital in Tehran.
A war veteran, Irloo had sustained injuries from chemical warfare attacks on Iran during the ex-Iraqi regime’s 1980-88 imposed war on Iran, according to Press TV.
Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Tuesday that some executive bodies in Riyadh were to blame for a delay in allowing Iran’s late ambassador to return home, adding that Tehran will lodge a formal protest over the foot-dragging in accordance with international law.
In addition, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the envoy was transferred to the country in a “bad state” and due to “late cooperation” of some countries.
He passed away “despite undergoing all stages of treatment to improve his condition”, Khatibzadeh said.
Following the tragic incident, condolences poured in from inside and outside the country. IRGC Chief Commander Major General Hossein Salami and Ali Akbar Velayati, the senior adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, were among the top Iranian officials who expressed their heartfelt condolences on Irloo’s martyrdom on Tuesday.
The foreign minister in Yemen’s National Salvation Government also offered condolences over Irloo’s martyrdom.
Foreign Minister Hisham Sharaf Abdullah conveys his heartfelt condolences to the Iranian government, nation and family of heroic Irloo over the ambassador’s demise,” the ministry wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
“May his soul rest in peace and may God grant his family the strength and patience to endure this great pain,” his message read.
Separately, the spokesman for the popular Ansarullah resistance movement expressed his condolences to Tehran on the Iranian envoy’s passing.
“Our sincere condolences to the Iranian leadership, the dear Iranian people, and to the family of the late Iranian ambassador to Yemen Hassan Irloo, may God bless him and have mercy on him,” Mohammed Abdulsalam wrote in a post on his Twitter account.
Hussein al-Ezzi, the deputy foreign minister of Yemen, also condoled the Islamic Republic of Iran on Irloo’s martyrdom.
“I offer my condolences to the Islamic Republic, its leadership and people, on the death of His Excellency Ambassador Hassan Irloo, as well as his family,” Ezzi said on Twitter.
“We lost a wonderful friend who was an example of a successful and distinguished diplomat,” he added.
Moreover, Yemeni Ambassador to Tehran Ibrahim Mohammad al-Dulaimi offered condolences on Tuesday over the martyrdom of his Iranian counterpart.
“With great sadness and sorrow, we received the news of the death of our dear brother Hassan Irloo, who greatly contributed to the improvement of Yemeni-Iranian relations,” he said.
“We extend our sincere condolences and sympathy to his family, the leadership and officials in the Islamic Republic as well as the Iranian diplomatic mission in Sana’a. Hope God gives his relatives the patience and fortitude” to bear the tragic loss, Dulaimi pointed out.
Upbeat Russia FM says Vienna talks will resume this year
The Russian foreign minister said there is a good chance that the Vienna talks on the restoration of 2015 nuclear deal would lead to an agreement, noting that the negotiations will be resumed after the Christmas holidays and prior to 2022.
Sergei Lavrov made the remarks in an interview with RT, adding the negotiating teams in the Austrian capital are working on a package of proposals to revive the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, IRNA reported.
Iran and the P5+1, comprising five permanent members of the UN Security Council, China, Russia, Britain, United States and France plus Germany, signed the JCPOA in July 2015.
Under the deal, Tehran agreed to put limits on certain aspects of its peaceful nuclear activities in exchange for the removal of international sanctions imposed against the country.
In 2018, however, the U.S. under former president Donald Trump pulled out from the pact and began to unilaterally implement what it called the maximum pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic, effectively depriving Iran of the deal’s benefits by forcing third parties to stop doing business with Iran.
Following the U.S. withdrawal, Iran remained patient for an entire year, after which it began to take incremental steps away from its nuclear obligations due to the other parties’ proven failure to secure its contractual interests.
The Islamic Republic’s nuclear steps prompted other signatories to enter talks in the Austrian capital earlier this year.
Iran has repeatedly said that it seeks the removal of all sanctions in a verifiable manner as well as a guarantee from Washington that it will not leave the deal again and that it will reverse its retaliatory measures as soon as other parties begin honoring their JCPOA commitments.
Lavrov said, “We, along with our Chinese friends and with a clear understanding of the European sides, have coordinated to put together a package of reciprocal steps. This is what the negotiators in Vienna are currently doing.”
The Russian foreign minister added the negotiators will take a brief rest during the Christmas holidays, following which they will resume the talks before the end of 2021.
‘Shooting in U.S. leg’
Ever since its implementation, Trump’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA has constantly been censured inside and outside the U.S., a recent instance of which is a tweet by Russia’s Ambassador to International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov.
Ulyanov wrote: “Indeed! The decision to withdraw from #JCPOA was like shooting in one of US legs. It doesn’t matter if it was left or right leg.”
Although U.S. President Joe Biden has been among the harsh critics of the move by his predecessor, what is unfolding on the ground indicates that his administration is following in Trump’s footsteps, pursuing the same hostile policies against Iran despite showing willingness to restore the deal.
As an instance of the American officials’ paradoxical moves and stances toward Tehran, U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley told CNN on Tuesday that Washington will consider “other options” if negotiations in the Austrian capital fail to restore the JCPOA.
He warned of a “period of escalating crisis” if diplomacy failed to revive the deal.
Commenting on Iran’s retaliatory measures, Malley said, “If they continue at their current pace, we have some weeks left [to restore the deal] but not much more than that, at which point the conclusion will be there’s no deal to be revived.”
In similar remarks, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that the country has a strong interest in reviving the deal, warning that if the Vienna talks fail, “then we are actively looking at alternatives and options”.
“I’m not going to put a time limit on it,” Blinken told reporters, but the remaining runway for a deal is “getting very, very, very short”.
Continued on Page 2
Palestinian ambassador: All ways of struggle legal for Palestinians to stop segmentation of their land
Israel’s 73-year occupation of Palestine has displaced millions of Palestinians around the world. The regime’s crimes and atrocities against Palestinian people and the oppression of the main owners of the Palestinian lands accelerated their displacement. Palestine’s Ambassador to Tehran Salah al-Zawawi gave us detailed figures of displaced Palestinians around the world.
Iran Daily: How many Palestinians live in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and how many Palestinian refugees are living abroad?
Zawawi: The official figures on the status of Palestinians are as follows:
- 5,200,000 in the state of Palestine (two million in Gaza and three million in the West Bank)
- 1,600,000 inside the Zionist entity
- 50,000 in Egypt
- 12,000 in Iraq
- 3,000 in Lebanon
- 4,000 in Syria
- 6,138,000 in other countries of the world; the total number is 13,700,000 by the end of 2020.
Continued on Page 2
Iran blasts ‘baseless’ communiqué by Britain, Arab states council
The Iranian Foreign Ministry strongly denounced an anti-Tehran final communiqué that was recently released at the end of a joint meeting between the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council and the UK.
The council’s foreign ministers met with Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in Chevening, England, on Monday. After the meeting, they issued a joint statement, in which they voiced “grave concern” about Iran’s regional activities and, what they called “nuclear escalation” by the country, according to Press TV.
Speaking on Wednesday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh called the claims that were made through the statement “baseless” and “repetitive”.
He denounced the allegations as a measure taken by certain circles “which are worried about creation of an atmosphere of interaction and cooperation among the regional countries”.
The Islamic Republic, he said, has always played a “responsible role” in boosting peace and stability in the region.
“Based on its strategic standpoint and principled policy, the Islamic Republic’s government considers the means of resolution of regional problems to lie in interaction and cooperation, and, therefore, welcomes whatever constructive initiative in this area,” Khatibzadeh asserted.
He, meanwhile, denounced Western countries for fanning the flames of tension and human catastrophes in the region by flooding modern weaponry to some regional countries.
Commenting on the claim made about “nuclear escalation,” Khatibzadeh said contrary to the unfounded allegations, Iran has invariably remained committed to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the comprehensive safeguards agreement, which stipulates enhanced access to the Islamic Republic’s nuclear sites and snap inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.