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Iran State Media: Corruption, Raisi’s Hollow Promises and a Looming Uprising

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Iran’s economy is in shambles, and people are mired in abject poverty. Yet, instead of helping people or directing the national wealth to develop the country’s battered economy, regime officials only give hollow promises while enjoying their luxurious lives.

For decades, Iran’s tightly controlled state media’s main task was to hide the truth and cover up social and economic problems. Now, their daily acknowledgment of Iran’s economic and social crises is quite telling of society’s explosive state.

In a bid to shore up its wobbly legitimacy, the regime’s president Ebrahim Raisi, his administration, and the handpicked parliament continue making hollow promises to revitalize the economy. This has been mocked by Iran’s state-run media that refer to the regime’s institutionalized corruption.

“The clear question now is: despite all the slogans and chants during the [sham] presidential and parliamentary election campaigns, has the situation changed? Absolutely not. The door rotates on the same heel as before,” the state-e run Aftab-e Yazd daily wrote on March 8.

Instead of helping people, the regime recently removed the preferential currency exchange rate of 42,000 rials to a dollar. This decision will increase the already-soaring prices and inflation, as this currency rate was used to import essential consumer goods. Meanwhile, Raisi’s government has allowed the entry of 70,000 foreign vehicles to the country and allowed terrorist entities like the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and its front companies operating under the banner of “private sector” to sell 1.3 million BPD of crude oil.

“Authorizing the import of 70,000 foreign cars, eliminating the preferential currency, and allowing the daily sale of 1.3 million barrels of oil to the private sector in the 2022-2023 budget allow the mafias to drain people’s blood freely.,” the state-run Jumhouri-e Eslami wrote on March 8.

The paper adds that customers of those luxurious cars are the rich people affiliated with the regime, not the “bare-footed people who can hardly make a living.”

According to Jumhouri-e Eslami, “The sale of 1.3 million BPD by the private sector, along with the sale of 1.4 million BPD by the government, is another bizarre decision that, in addition to creating corruption, widens the class gap between rich and poor. Part of this 1.3 barrels of oil will be sold by institutions and organs, which is against the law and will cause an increase in corruption in those bodies. The poor will not benefit, but the rich who have the power to obtain a license to sell oil become richer.”

“So, the [Persian New Year of] 1401 will kickstart with skyrocketing prices. It will be a year of increasing pressure on the poor, and God knows what happens to the country and how long people will tolerate this situation,” Jomhouri Eslami warned.

“Officials’ regular visits to stores and their orders to stop skyrocketing prices have been pointless. It seems that prices do not pay attention to officials’ orders! Meanwhile, the price of sugar has tripled, and prices of rice, meat, and potatoes have unprecedently increased,” the state-run Javan daily wrote on March 10.

Javan, linked to the IRGC, acknowledged that “skyrocketing prices engulf people from eight angles, such as clothing, transportation, housing, education, municipal services, government and judicial services, and communication needs.”

Iran’s inflation rate hovers around 50 percent as the regime’s monetary policy, such as banknote printing for compensating an enormous budget deficit, has increased liquidity while having a low 3% production rate.

“While liquidity has grown by at least 40 percent over the past year, and general inflation has increased accordingly, sometimes the prices of some commodities have skyrocketed as much or more,” Javan daily wrote in this regard.

As Raisi finds his government hamstrung by the regime’s own nebulous economic and foreign policy agenda, centered on corruption and warmongering, he desperately tries to somehow quell the restive society by making hollow promises, such as eradicating poverty in two weeks or ordering prices to stop increasing!

“The story of officials’ attempt to simplify the economic crises, such as the complex issues of poverty, reached a new level with the simultaneous speeches of Ahmad Jannati, the head of the Assembly of Experts, and [regime’s] president Ebrahim Raisi. Jannati acknowledged that hungry people in Iran could not find bread and asked the president to do something. Raisi immediately ordered the eradication of poverty in two weeks,” the state-run Jahan-e Sanat daily wrote on March 11, adding, “you cannot fill an empty stomach with words!”

“We should remind these officials that the stomachs of the people can only be filled with bread and rice, not with words and orders. The government must know that if it fails to provide a balanced budget, it will increase inflation even more, and more people will be starving,” the paper adds.

“It is inconceivable that Raisi’s government could eradicate poverty in two weeks or in a month. In a special project and a lot of resources, the United Nations gave 15 years to different countries to halve absolute poverty through continuous planning. This project was not completed. So how on earth is it possible that a country like Iran, which is under sanctions and suffers from widespread economic mismanagement, could eradicate absolute poverty in two weeks?” the state-run Etemad daily wrote on March 10.

But would restoring the nuclear deal and lifting sanctions help Iran’s low production rate, high inflation, and widespread unemployment? Will easing sanctions, as Tehran’s apologists try to imply, would increase people’s purchasing power and help the country’s economic crunch?

“The idea that we will overcome our great economic problems after reaching a deal seems very dangerous and foolish and is more like a childish illusion,” the state-run Reslat daily, close to Raisi’s faction, wrote on March 11.

“The main problems of our country are rooted in internal issues. We have problems such as a worn-out administrative apparatus, financial indiscipline of the country’s financial and banking organization, an economy mired in embezzlement, rampant corruption, the presence of economic mafias in various industries, and, most importantly, lack of a theory of development in accordance with the country’s indigenous geographical habitat,” Resalat adds.

In other words, no matter what Iran’s pundits try to sell, people know that the regime is the source of their economic and social problems, and Raisi’s hollow promises wouldn’t help the regime to avoid a foreseeable uprising. It is no wonder that one of the most prevalent chants during several anti-regime uprisings was “the enemy is right here, they lie when they say it’s America.”

“People’s patience is running low. The existing class divisions have created a situation that has ended hope of reform and empty promises by officials make the situation more difficult,” the state-run Aftab-e Yazd daily warned regime officials on March 11.