The Islamic Republic's never-ending labour pains
"My poverty is my pride, and it elevates me above all the prophets before me." This well-known quote by the Prophet Muhammad is often heard these days in Iran. Should one, like the prophet, be proud of being poor? When people are in need, does it really bring them closer to their Creator? And how is one to behave in times of scarcity and shortage?
Scholars in the Islamic Republic have been forced to confront questions like these more than ever lately. Because in times of sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic, the pressure exerted by practical circumstances is crushing. Everyone is talking and complaining about poverty, rising prices and shortages – realities that can no longer be ignored. Even the news website Fars, which is closely allied with the Revolutionary Guards, is compelled to address the issue on a daily basis.
But the cardinal question remains: when did Iran embark on this hopeless path, and why? Who caused this undeniable age of misery? Was it the suffocating U.S. sanctions, or was it the country's own government mismanagement, coupled with rampant corruption? Which president is responsible for all the burdens and suffering that are driving people to despair? Donald Trump or Hassan Rouhani? And how is the country to escape from this impasse? Everyone has their own answer and no one has a solution.
USA – the eternal foe
These days, parliamentarians, preachers and propagandists in Iran cannot avoid addressing on radio and television the economic plight that has gripped the country. Each of them has their own explanation for how Iran got into this predicament. And yet they dare not get too close to voicing the real reasons for the foreign sanctions, or the foundations of the entire system will begin to shake.