Thursday, February 26, 2009


It is the most absurd and the most ridiculous piece of news I have seen in a long time. Slamming sanctions on Sharif University of Technology is nothing but an act of unspeakable stupidity!
Sharif is Iran's best school and the only place with active academic ties with abroad, all established through individual initiatives and none because of Iranian government. It is the castle of rationalism in Iran and recently has launched a great program in economics based on American curriculum. To punish this school only weakens those who advocate moderation, liberalism and integration in global society and gives power to those who desire confrontation and violence. Whoever suggested this must be out of his freaking mind!!!!!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

To Subsidize or not To Subsidize

Iranian legislative and executive bodies are exchanging pleasantries over a bill to eliminate government subsidization of products and services. Although this step has been advocated by many liberal Iranian economists, many are concerned by the potential consequences of a hasty action. Those concerns have forced many to caution government. This past week parliament has returned the bill to the cabinet. President Ahmadinejad announced that he would not resubmit it, if his original plan were not accepted. It seems that so close to an election, the government is very cautious and is using this opportunity to shelf the bill for now.
The reason is simple enough any increase in the prices will have dire political consequences for any candidate and right now the incumbent does not desire that.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Just Some Thoughts

Former President Khatami candidacy has sparked a rather lively debate in Iranian society and among bloggers about his performance, expectations and the future. The discussions remind me of a dialogue of a Polish movie called "Death of a President" (1977) about the first President of Poland, Gabriel Narutowicz, who was assassinated 2 days after assuming the office.
There is a scene where a conversation takes place among the members of parliament from a centrist part (I believe farmers party). The election is narrowed down to a right-wing candidate and Mr. Narutowics. An MP says:
"We cannot vote for one because of our honor, for the other because of our principles."
The leader of the party says:
"Then it is good, we still have our consciences."
Conscience is a strange thing, let's hope we still have it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday, February 09, 2009

Let's Talk Issues not Illusions!

Hamed Ghoddous an Iranian journalist, a blogger and a doctoral candidate at Vienna Graduate School of Finance has written an open letter to former President Khatami; titled “Do not Disappoint Us”. He asked him to be clear on the issues facing the economy and to select a team of technocrats and professionals, instead of old acquaintances and friends and to dedicate his energies to expanding private sector and to battle the barriers ahead of economic growth. It is a good letter and summarizes some basic facts and issues. Interesting part is the reaction.

Reading the comments to this post, I am puzzled to see the lack of cohesion in economic thoughts and beliefs. While a number of people welcome his approach, a number scolded him for advocating free market, for putting the cause of economy ahead of that of liberty and some discounted Mr. Khatami’s achievements outright.

I do believe the approaching weeks are vital for Iran. They also can decide what the coming election is about. Although many suggest the coming election is about characters, that of President Ahmadinejad and of former President Khatami. And based on this argument they have made their decisions already. I would like to remind every one that the election could be about planning solutions and addressing issues, if issues are debated and discussed in media and weblog arena.

Should discussing issues become a priority for many who follow the events in Iran, then we have a genuine opportunity to transfer this election to a debate scene about solutions and not just illusions. If Iranian media and bloggers fail in this then the coming elections would be a contest of two populists; One running on a promise of a freedom he cannot deliver, the other on a promise of a welfare he cannot provide. It is time to talk about the issues. Putting economy ahead would help us to address the social issues from a stronger position. This is certainly not a time for the illusions of liberty, but a time for pragmatic planning and fact oriented approach to the issues on hand.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Finally! Khatami is Running!

After weeks of half measures and dubious statements, former President Khatami announced that he is running for the office of presidency against President Ahmadinejad. Well let's hope in trading efficiency for the appearance of modesty he has not sacrificed his chances!