Iran’s failed “Economic jihad”

For the average Iranian citizen, buying chicken for a meal is a luxury, common only to the wealthy. Imagine your parent’s 25th wedding anniversary is approaching and you want to surprise them with chicken at a dinner celebration.

Realistically, you understand the financial sacrifice involved, as prices for groceries, like many things in Iran, are terrifically inflated and unstable. Meticulously, you save 840,000 rials for the poultry purchase, but when you go into the grocery store you find that the price of chicken has doubled since the day before.

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You cannot purchase the amount of chicken needed to feed your family for the celebration, and you walk away defeated. Doesn’t sound too overwhelming, because it’s just chicken, right?

This time, imagine the same conditions apply, except you must obtain cancer medicine for your mother. You can’t afford the soaring price for the drug, and your mother dies.

Welcome to the reality in which most Iranian citizens must face due to the sanctions President Barack Obama signed into effect last December.

Imposing sanctions comes with the knowledge that everyday citizens will be bearing the blow. With this comes the assumption that the government will act on the side of suffering citizens and eventually succumb to demands.

Supporters of administering sanctions upon Iran for its nuclear energy program failed to recognize the reality of the Islamic Republic of Iran — the government does not act on the side of its citizens but rather on the side of selfish gain.

Thus, Iran’s wealthy elite continue to take advantage of Iran’s intrinsic wealth in oil, while the majority of Iranian citizens are dealing with high unemployment, high cost of living, a decreasing value in their dollar, and unstable inflation.

Ironically enough, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, announced back in March 2011 that he will bring his country through an “economic jihad.”

This plan for structural reform, once praised by the IMF, now stands as an afterthought in an economy now sweltering under sanctions. By signing sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank, Obama essentially signed off on a lower standard of living for Persian people.

Even with international pressure to forgo nuclear development, Iran will maintain its sovereignty at the expense of its people. Along the same vein, the United States will not back down from the sanctions. What’s left is a stalemate.

The people of Iran must brace themselves for a long period of economic decline which means outstandingly high prices for foreign consumer products.

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How long will the United States and other international participants continue to impose sanctions which have the greatest effect on everyday citizens of Iran?

How long will the Islamic Republic continue to throw millions of dollars into its Uranium enrichment program while its citizens are starving for basic necessities?

The government of Iran does not hear the sound of a child screaming from hunger or a dying woman crying from a lack of medical care. No, they are deaf except to the sound of gold falling into the petroleum sea.

Bottom line: someone needs to concede or the people of Iran will continue to suffer.

Editorial Assistant Brooke Lake is a senior international studies major. Her column appears every other Tuesday in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.