26 August 2009

Is there an economic crisis in Iran?

(via @homylafayette)

VOA Newstalk Aug 25:
Windows Media Player http://tinyurl.com/nfpt5a and Real Player http://tinyurl.com/lyr2ox

Tonight's guests are Sohrab Sobhani, oil and international relations expert in Washington and Dr. Fereydoun Khavand, economist and professor at Paris's René Descartes University.

Host jamshid Chalangi:
Mr. Sobhani, what is Iran's place in the world oil market?

Sohrab Sobhani:
Iran's position has diminished so much that it needs $30 to $50 billion in investment annually to turn the tide. This is because of mismanagement. Ahmadinejad has chosen a certain Mirkazemi as oil minister. Is this person up to the task? He has neither the capability, nor the experience.

Host Jamshid Chalangi:
You say there are many problems. Can they be resolved overnight?

Sohrab Sobhani:
Definitely. In 2005, Qatar signed a contract for a refinery. It was delivered last year. You need time, but most of all you need specialists and transparency. Iran has no dearth of experts, but the system does not work in their favor.

Host Jamshid Chalangi:
Let's go to Fereydoun Khavand in Paris. Is there an economic crisis in Iran?

Fereydoun Khavand:
In the past months, there have been numerous reports that indicate the crisis is getting worse in Iran. These reports exist despite the harsh censorship exercised in the country. Let me just refer to one such report from Alef, a Principalist (conservative) web site run by Ahmad Tavakoli, head of the Majlis Research Center. This report speaks of the collapse of Iranian manufacturers: the Bukan textile plant, the Dena tire plant the Haft Tappeh industrial/agricultural complex, whose workers are striking for back pay the Iran Co. aluminum works, which is going through a very rough patch.

Major steelworks are in a downward spiral, 50% of sugar plants are operating at a loss. Household appliance manufacturers are at 40% capacity. Construction in Tenran is down by at least 60%.

This article published in a Principalist web site several days ago goes on to say: 'In the past months, blue-collar protests are becoming more organized. If the trend continues and nothing is done to counter the fall of economic centers blue wave of protest, similar to the Green Wave, will be unleashed. Blue collars will take the place of green wristbands. This grassroots movement will be provoked by fears of hunger for one's family, lack of money to buy milk for one's child, to pay the rent, to finance the education of one's offspring....'

This article warns that a blue wave, more dangerous than the Green Wave, could be coming. Bear in mind, the article appeared in a Principalist web site which supports the regime. Iran's manufacturing units may be going through their greatest crisis since the revolution.

End of translation highlights at 12:00. Khavand's comments seemed the most pertinent in tonight's program.

I've found the article that Khavand talks about: 'Is the blue-collar protest wave coming?' http://tinyurl.com/mmpqjp

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