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Iran: Brutal plundering to finance nuclear and missile programs

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Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

According to media outlets close to the Iranian government, 80 percent of the Iranian people live in poverty. Still, the regime has not stopped funding militants in the region or its missile and nuclear programs.

Mohammad Ali Dehghan Dehnavi, the head of the regime’s stock exchange organization, said: “Last year, the stock exchange financed 6.8 trillion rials for the economy (of the regime); The market (stock exchange) has been the means of financing the government in the last year.” (Club House, April 17)

This shocking confession of the great plundering of the Iranian people is unlikely to be found anywhere else in history. It shows one of the reasons for “the annoying shrinking of the people’s table, the 10-year record of the class divide, the terrible growth of housing prices” and the “reduction of the purchasing power of the people by one third!” according to Resalat, the state-run newspaper, on April 18.

Dehnavi’s remarks reaffirm that the stock market is nothing but a tool for the brutal looting of the people and capital accumulation in the hands of the 4% government’s top people. Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei had previously called on the people to “invest in the stock market” (November 2019), and the regime’s president Hassan Rouhani repeatedly encouraged people to invest in the stock market, saying, “People should know the stock market is where to invest” (August 13, 2020).

Still, after attracting the people’s capital, who put all their assets in the stock market in the hope of preserving it, the stock market’s fictitious index began to fall. The raised capital flowed into the pockets of the ruling mafia so that, according to Dehnavi, the stock exchange became the means of financing the government. What was left of this great plunder of history was nothing but “people who have lost their capital (in the stock market) and in a purgatory of expectation, nothing but anger has been obtained for them.” (Government Hamdeli Newspaper – February 8, 2021)

Khamenei and Rouhani suck the capital of the country and the people by any means to fund anti-national nuclear, missile, and repression programs, as well as a dozen terrorist and criminal gangs from Lebanon’s Hezbollah to the Yemeni Houthis to Iraq’s Hashd al-Shabi, and to the bloodthirsty militias in Syria. Using various methods, such as stock trading, the printing of banknotes, and the “30% annual increase of the national currency base” (Resalat – April 17), goods and resources were stolen from the Iranian people and exported. These exports include livestock, food, construction materials, water, gas, and electricity. Exports to other countries cause “disintegration … of the fabric of Iran’s economy.” (Jahan Sanat – April 17, 2021) There is a “deepening of social wounds or the formation of multi-layered underground layers in the social sphere.” (Arman government newspaper – April 17)

According to the International Monetary Fund report, which has published the economic growth rate of the world and several selected countries in a table, Iran’s economic growth rate was projected to be minus 6.5 percent in 2019 and minus 1.5% in 2020. In an earlier version of the Fund’s World Economic Outlook report released last October, the agency had projected Iran’s economic growth of minus 0.2 percent and a positive 0.5 percent in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Of course, the significant growth in arms and missile production and military vessels is not a secret. It has increased the average economic growth rate and made it more challenging to provide livelihoods for the people due to the allocation of more resources in this area. In May 2019, the Iranian parliament declared the number of Iranian households below the poverty line at 60 percent, many of whom are below the hunger line. In January 2021, according to various statistics such as wages and salaries, it was announced that: “58 percent of the population of Iran tries to survive, not to live.”

Hamid Enayat

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