Let’s get the Mahnaz to sleep!
Perhaps she dreams rainbow in sleep?
For a few moments, let’s get away her from the bitter world of the reality that made her childhood!
The Enormous Cost of the Regime’s Warmongering, Terrorism and Domestic Suppression
As the uprising against the clerical regime engulfed various Iranian cities, protestors’ slogans expressed some aspects of the cause of that movement, namely grueling high prices and economic strains on an array of social sectors. Giving rise to these circumstances is the fact that the religious dictatorship has channeled Iran’s human resources and economic reserves toward domestic suppression, warmongering and expansion of terrorism abroad, leading to increasing poverty and deprivation among the population in Iran.
The cost of war and terrorism: Not declared in official state budget
According to assessments conducted by the Iranian Resistance and international experts, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has spent close to $15B to $20B a year in Syria over the past six years.1 The regime’s warmongering and fatal intervention in Syria alone cost the Iranian people at least $100B between the start of the war to the end of 2017.
In addition to Syria, Tehran has used its military and terrorist arm, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), to interfere in conflicts in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Afghanistan while exporting terrorism to dozens of other countries in five continents around the world.
The cost of manufacturing weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, and of acquiring illicit material and equipment for the nuclear program can also be factored into the regime’s overall expenditures. A high-level assessment reveals that the regime spends at least $25B to $30B in these arenas from sources that are not declared in its official annual budget.
In order to pay for its warmongering and domestic suppression, the regime has created a private network outside of official state structures. Particularly after 2005 (during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad), Khamenei expanded his economic reach considerably by transferring the ownership of state enterprises, taking control of the financial market, and eliminating state subsidies.
With the help of his enterprises and institutions, which operate through front organizations masked as private companies, Khamenei has taken over the bulk of Iran’s economy. This is how Khamenei pays for the undeclared and unofficial costs of war and suppression. These organizations and institutions, which include the IRGC, now control over 50% of Iran’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Official state institutions have no control or oversight on these entities’ sources of revenue or expenditures. They are also either exempt from taxes or simply do not pay them.
Some of the most important of these entities include but are not limited to the following2: The IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbia Construction Headquarters, other IRGC-affiliated economic powerhouses, Khamenei’s Setad (Headquarters for Executing Imam’s Orders), the Mostaz’afan (Oppressed) Foundation, Astan-e Qods Razavi (religious foundation in Mashhad), Shahid (Martyr) Foundation, Emdad (Aid) Committee, IRGC Cooperatives Foundation, Bassij Cooperatives Foundation, Qadir Investment Company (tied to the Ministry of Defense), the Armed Forces Social Welfare Organization (SATA), Khatam al-Osia Base (tied to the Ministry of Defense), State Security Forces Cooperatives Foundation (NAJA), and the Islamic Republic Army Cooperatives Foundation (BTAJA).
The cost of war and terrorism: as declared in the official state budget (military and security organs)
An overview of the budget bill submitted to parliament (Majlis) in December 2017 by the Hassan Rouhani administration for the new Persian calendar year (March 2018 to March 2019) indicates a total budget of 425000 billion tomans (121.5 billion dollars. )3 Out of this amount, 93937B tomans ($26.8 billion dollars )4, or 22% of the entire budget, has been allocated to military and security-related spending, as well as to the export of terrorism and fundamentalism abroad. Details of the regime’s military and security costs are as follows:
– Security affairs (including the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the State Security Forces, the Special Tribunal for Clerics, etc.): 19745.9 billion tomans (5.641billion dollars) or 4.6% of the entire budget
– Military affairs (IRGC, Bassij, army, etc.): 68483 billion tomans (19.5 billion dollars) or 16.17% of the entire budget.
– Export of terrorism: 5708 billion tomans (1.6 billion dollars) or 1.34% of the entire budget
An assessment of annual expenditures on warmongering and suppression
A high-level assessment reveals that the minimum cost of keeping the clerical regime in power in Iran through warmongering and internal suppression is comprised of the following:
– 26.8 billion dollars : Funds allocated to military and security-related affairs and export of terrorism in the official state budget
– 27.5 billion dollars: Money channeled to military and security-related activities and export of terrorism, funded by revenues obtained from institutions controlled by the supreme leader’s office and the IRGC
Based on these figures, the regime spends a total of at least 55 billion dollars (official and known unofficial sources of funding) in order to advance domestic suppression, warmongering and foreign terrorism.
It is important to note that the Iranian regime spends an amount that is at least close to the officially declared budget on war, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction by revenues generated from enteties tied to the supreme leader. This analysis reveals that the structure of the dictatorship has been shaped in a way that allows the advancement of the clerical dictatorship’s own goals and objectives. In other words, the Iranian people’s resources are being used to prop up the dictatorship.
Case studies: How funding of warmongering and suppression fares against other state expenditures
In order to see how the dictatorship’s warmongering and suppression have seized wealth from the Iranian people, resulting in widespread poverty, a few examples and case studies are provided below.
Compared to the rebuilding costs after a recent earthquake: In November 2017, an earthquake shook the western province of Kermanshah, resulting in at least 1000 deaths and thousands wounded, while more than 100000 people were rendered homeless. In a preliminary analysis5, the Kermanshah provincial government said the earthquake has resulted in at least 5632 billion tomans (1.61 billion dollars) in damage. The analysis added that this amount is equal to the province’s total budget for 11 years (approximately 140 million dollars per year). This means that the price tag for the clerical regime’s warmongering and suppression in a single year is 40 times more than the total damage resulting from the 2017 Kermanshah earthquake or more than 440 times the official annual budget of the entire Kermanshah province.
Compared to the health care budget: The 2018 budget for the provision of health care to 80 million Iranians has been officially declared as 57000 billion tomans (16.3 billion dollars). This is a mere third of the regime’s annual warmongering and suppression costs. This means that every year, the entire Iranian population is forced to pay an amount that is three times higher than their total health care budget for warmongering and terrorism.
The Iranian people’s welfare compared to salaries paid to Iranian regime mercenaries in Syria:According to statements made by Afghan mercenaries of the Iranian regime during public interviews with state-run media, each are paid 2.5 million tomans, (600 or 700 dollars) per month, every month. Nearly 20,000 Afghan nationals are dispatched to Syria by the IRGC. As such, every month, the regime pays 12 million to 14 million dollars to its Afghan mercenaries in Syria. This is while the Rouhani government spokesman, Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, has said that the government is planning to pay a monthly stipend of 250 thousand tomans or nearly 70 dollars to every Iranian living under the absolute poverty line. So, an Afghan sent to Syria is paid 10 times more than an Iranian living under the line of absolute poverty. This is while Afghans are sent to Syria by the IRGC as cheap soldiers, and their salaries represent a miniscule portion of the regime’s constant expenditures in Syria.
Expenditures in Syria compared to financial aid to all people living under the absolute poverty line in Iran: On September 17, 2017,6 the head of the Emdad Khomeini Committee (Aid Committee), Seyyed Parviz Fattah Qarebaghi7, said it is estimated that the number of people living under the absolute poverty line in Iran ranges from 16 to 20 million. Assuming these people do receive a stipend of almost $70/month, the regime would have to come up with a monthly total of 1.4 billion dollars or an annual total of 17 billion dollars. This means that the amount the regime is spending in Syria alone (not the entire cost of warmongering and suppression, which is several times higher) could have been re-allocated to pay the monthly stipends of nearly 20 million impoverished people in Iran.
That is why during the recent uprising in various Iranian cities, protestors shouted slogans like “Leave Syria, think about us” and “Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, I dedicate my life to Iran.” They also targeted the entire regime, demanding its overthrow by chanting “Death to Khamenei” and “Khamenei, shame on you, let go of the country.” They realize that the only way to obtain the Iranian people’s rights is through the overthrow of the clerical regime in its entirety.
1. Khamenei’s velayat-e faqih (absolute clerical rule) has allocated Iran’s official and unofficial revenues and national wealth to serve foreign warmongering and terrorism as well as domestic suppression in order to ensure the regime’s survival. This is the primary cause of the backbreaking poverty haunting the country.
2. As the regime’s armed entity, the IRGC has had the largest share in stealing the national wealth. A substantial portion of economic deals and control over key industries like oil and gas belongs to the IRGC. In addition to embezzlement, the IRGC then allocates resulting revenues to warmongering and terrorism as well as to suppression inside Iran.
3. Any deals with the Iranian regime will strengthen the velayat-e faqih dictatorship and its armed entity the IRGC, resulting in the escalation of suppression of the Iranian people’s uprisings and the massacre of peoples across the region.
4. In order to eliminate the dictatorship’s machinery of war and suppression, all of the regime’s officials, the IRGC and the array of economic organizations and institutions in their orbit of influence must be placed under international sanctions.
1- Based on Bloomberg estimates quoting Steven Heydemann at the U.S. Institute of Peace; and “How Iran Fuels Syria War: Details of the IRGC Command HQ and Key Officers in Syria,” NCRI- U.S. Representative Office, November 2015.
2- See “The Rise of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Financial Empire: How the Supreme Leader and the IRGC Rob the People to Fund International Terror,” NCRI-U.S. Representative Office, March 2017. The detailed study shows how ownership of property in various spheres of the economy is gradually shifted from the population writ large towards a minority ruling elite comprised of the Supreme Leader’s office and the IRGC, using 14 powerhouses.
3- 425,000,000,000,000 tomans: converted to dollars based on exchange rate of $1=3,500 tomans. This exchange rate has also been used for the regime’s official state budget.
4- Equal to 93,937,000,000,000 tomans
5-See “Damages Resulting from the Earthquake Equal to Kermanshah’s Budget of 11 Years,” state-run Entekhab daily, November 25, 2017 (in Farsi).
6- See IRGC-affiliated Fars News website, September 17, 2017 (in Farsi).
7- Qarebaghi is an IRGC Brig. Gen., who controls the Emdad Committee, an entity affiliated with the regime’s supreme leader.
This video clip has been posted on the internet from Iran:
Look. Behind me is a woman covered up in veil (chador); she’s wearing a mask to prevent being identified. She is looking through the garbage and trash containers in this late hour of night. She’s looking to find and collect something that she might need to stay alive.
I don’t know but such people seem to be really honorable. When a woman wraps up herself in a chador and does not want to be recognized and looks through the garbage, it means that she’s been left no other way. There is no organization and no agency in our country to support them and they have to live in this way.
Is this really what the situation in our country is? Is this the motto in this country about chastity and veil and is this the way they support women?
There are stories of Iran that mainstream media unfortunately refuse to cover. These days it is all talk about the smiling “moderate” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani launching his second term.
One dark side of Iran the mullahs’ regime have kept a lid on is the status of Iran’s young women. Despite having a highly educated young population, with women comprising the majority of Iranians going to college, the end result, however, is mostly heartbreaking.
Shahindokht is a young woman in her twenties working at a women’s clothes shop in Tehran’s Haft-e Teer Square. When interviewed she did not allow the reporter from Iran’s state ILNA news agency take photo of the store she works in, not even a small shot for a video-take, and nor will she allow the reporter name the store. She is afraid. Afraid of losing the job she was lucky to even find. When she talks about her conditions, one gets more familiar with the drastic circumstances young Iranian women are enduring these days:
“I was in my last year of college, unemployed and literally broke to the point that I was going crazy. My father had been unemployed for a few years and barely making ends meet. He had been a factory worker and I don’t know how he was retired after 20 years, while earning less in comparison to others like him. My older brother drove taxis for a while, until he became a drug addict. For the past few years he sleeps until noon at home, then smokes one cigarette after another until evening. He may work a few hours, just to make his drug money. And that’s it.”
She wants to share more of her pains, about life and her family, about a sister who has divorced, a mother who soon will most likely be diagnosed with Alzheimer… but she prefers to talk about her job, about working in the clothing store:
“For a few days I would buy a newspaper and look through the ads. I couldn’t find a job in my field, history. As I looked more I started to become hopeless. I came to understand I either had to start selling on the streets or down in the metro, or take a job as a typist or a salesperson. Typing wasn’t easy for me. I started looking for stores selling women’s clothing, and finally, a month later, I found this place. The day when I came for the interview there were many women in line. Such a long line, you should’ve seen it.”
Now it’s exactly eight months since Shahindokht is selling women’s clothing, and as she said, living on tips and percentage. She doesn’t have a written contract or a fixed paycheck. No insurance either…
“We receive a monthly salary of two million or three million rials in cash from the storeowner (the equivalent of around $100), for cleaning the place, making tea, providing some service. The rest is from how much we sell. At New Year my salary reached 15 million rials (around $500), but now it’s mostly no more than seven to eight million. I am waiting for late August and September. With schools and colleges opening, young ladies and school girls come flocking in to this square to buy new clothes. That’s when we sellers see better days…”
In the middle of her sentence two or three ladies enter the store. Shahindokht looked in despair, upset at why she had been standing outside talking. She has to go in or else the other sellers will receive the percentage, and who knows when two or three more customers will come by this store again.
There are many such young women in Iran’s huge capital, Tehran. Women who are deprived of having a decent job, forced to work in such conditions without a guaranteed future… These women can only afford a very minimum lifestyle if their storeowners are lucky in their sales… if not, they just come and go. Meaningless labor, without any light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.
This is the destiny awaiting young educated women in Iran ruled by the mullahs’ regime.
Mazandaran Province, northern Iran – July 22 – An 18-year old girl committed suicide by throwing herself off a 6-story building.
Tehran Province – On Friday, July 21st, with the mother absent, the father of a 6-year old girl and 2-year old boy gave them suicide pills, and he too committed suicide. All three lost their lives.
Karaj, west of Tehran – July 22 – A construction worker climbed a crane and threw himself off, protesting not receiving his wage. He lost his life.
Yet another hideous phenomenon seen in #iran under the mullahs’ rule is the unthinkable practice of children forced off to mandatory #Marriages. The victims, who are placed into such situations at extremely young ages due to poverty, are left to face physical and psychological damages.
This shocking phenomenon is so widespread the regime’s own state-run media is forced to react. The depth of this disaster can be comprehended from the words of an Iranian regime official, “Currently, 43,000 girls between the ages of 10 to 15 are married.”
“We have even witnessed girls under the age of 10 getting married,” said Shahindokht Molavardi, Iran’s deputy vice president.
“Iran has 10 million completely illiterate and another 10 million semi-illiterate individuals across the country. These are dangerous statistics and are directly related to the number of child marriages,” state-run Mehr news agency reported.
“The income division in Iran is yet another reason behind increasing child marriages,” the report reads.
“17% of all marriages are related to girls under the age of 18 and in 2015 more than 5% of all marriages were registered to individuals under the age of 15. These statistics do not include non-registered marriages.”
According to Iran’s civil law girls are permitted to marry at the age of 13 and boys at 15. This reactionary law even permits marriages prior to these ages, only in need of permission from a court and the parents.
“If these two parties confirm, #Children at the age of six can be legally married,” said Iranian MP Fateme Zolqadr in reference to this law.
Shahla E’zazi, a sociologist and member of the Tabatabaie University Board of Science said in 2015 the number of child marriages increased by 10,000 in comparison to 2014 and their divorces have also increased.
In Iran under the religious fascist mullahs’ rule access to true statistics of child marriages is impossible and the media expressed in the regime’s controlled media most certainly reflect only a tip of the iceberg.
Considering all the damages caused by child marriages, the ruling mullahs in Iran continue to promote such a practice. Mullah Mohsen Ghera’ati made repulsive remarks in this regard.
“There must be an urgency regarding marriages. Boys and girls must get married in high school (and not in college),” he said. This is a clear resemblance of the mullah’s misogynist ideology.
Children involved in early marriages suffer social and physical damages. The social damages includes unregistered marriages, lack of identification papers, number of “child widows” on the rise, violence at home and spouse beatings, significant rise in population of city outskirt residents, prostitution, children fleeing their homes, number of homeless people, deprivation from education, significant age different between spouses, self-immolation and suicides, low social and legal support, rise in drug addiction, lack of skills to enter the job market, lack of knowledge to grow children, rise in poverty and rise in child workers. (State-run Iran Online website)
By Heshmat Alavi
Officials sidestep this issue, as is clear in remarks made by the Iranian Deputy for Social Affairs, who claimed that the reason the issue is not being resolved is that there are too many organizations trying to tackle it, and not enough coordination among them. Similar assertions were made in a state TV program on the topic earlier this month.
Anyone versed in the topic, however, knows that the real culprit is the nationwide poverty caused by the atrocious economic policies imposed by the mullah-led regime. People who are not hungry do not send their children into the streets to beg or look for work, when they should be in school and enjoying the precious years of their youth.
“Rounding up drug addicts, homeless people living in the streets, runaway girls, beggars and many others that have ended up in such situations as a result of poverty and the class gap in our society have ended in failure as a result of hasty measures carried out by authorities,” its report reads.
Other reports indicate the middle class in Iran has nearly vanished altogether.
“One of the simplest methods thought about by each official after they come to office is to round up such individuals. There was hope to resolve this issue from our society, yet due to known reasons these individuals have only been seen fleeing and returning to the streets. In the past 12 months, there have been many different plans and efforts launched by the municipality and the police, most leading to nothing but failures,” the website added.
Many Iranian officials, too, have admitted that the practice of rounding up people and holding them in special centers is not a strategic solution to the problem. They now acknowledge that the real solution would be to improve the public’s living conditions through major economic reforms.
Of course, the mullahs — whose plundering has left nothing for the people and who hae wasted billions in the nuclear program and global terrorism — will have nothing to do with such suggestions, and therefore any expectation from Tehran in this regard is an illusion.
Indeed, as long as they remain at the helm, no end to these woes will be in sight.