Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, September 07, 2007

Iranian government suppresses social freedoms as country faces economic troubles

In Iran, the inflation rate is around 17 percent, and approximately 10 million people are living below the poverty line. The government, however, has seized upon the economic troubles to limit social freedoms in an attempt to further secure its rule, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Many prominent Iranian-American scholars have been arrested, while student movements have been suppressed and newspapers closed. The recent arrest of Iranian-American intellectual Haleh Esfandiari is partly a warning to insiders who have expressed concern over the direction in which the country is headed. Furthermore, student and female activists have been encouraged to leave the country.

Although Iran is in economic trouble, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad still has the support of Ayatollah Khamenei because of his conservative policies, which have included rolling back political, social, and economic changes in an attempt to undermine a supposed “velvet revolution.”

Many people believe the economic trouble is due to Ahmadinejad being unable to understand the effects of his policies. For example, when he ordered the reduction of cement prices, he frightened away investors planning to build cement factories. Ali Rashadi, an economist, says that Ahmadinejad “feels the pain of the poor, but doesn’t have any solution,” and that “He is wrecking a system that was patched together over 25 years.”

For the full story, click here.


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