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Iran: Floating on oil and rationing gas
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Amazingly, Mr. Holocaust Denier has managed to really mess up the Iranian economy [/sarcasm], and today Iran is experiencing some pretty flammable unrest:
Angry Iranians have torched petrol stations in protests against the sudden imposition of fuel rationing in one of the world’s most oil rich nations.

The rationing was announced on Tuesday only three hours before it was due to begin at midnight, leading to long queues at service stations as Iranians rushed out to fill up before the clampdown kicked in.

In the capital, youths set a car and petrol pumps ablaze at a station in the residential Pounak area of northwestern Tehran, throwing stones and shouting angry slogans denouncing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who came to power in an election based largely on his promises to improve the Islamic republic’s faltering economy.

He has been facing growing criticisms over his economic policies, which a group of economists claimed earlier this month were fuelling inflation and hurting the poor.
The problem, of course, is that Iran has no real refining capacity. So it imports the majority of its gasoline, despite floating on a sea of oil. Additionally the government heavily subsidized the price of gasoline to consumers, so Iranians are used to cheap and plentiful gas.
Lines of more than a half a mile long snaked out of some stations in Tehran, while riot police were in some streets to disperse the demonstrators.

[...]

To make matters worse, consumers are being forced to use smart cards to keep track of their purchases but problems in distributing the cards have delayed implementation of the plan, while pumping petrol into vehicles is only possible when the smart card is inserted into the pumping machine.

[...]

Under the new rationing system, owners of private cars can buy only 100 litres (26 gallons) per month at the subsidised price of 1,000 Rials per litre (£0.19) while taxi-owners can purchase 800 litres (211 gallons) a month.
For those who would love to see the present regime go away, this is all good. I think Ahmadinejad's days are numbered. And, hopefully, so are those of the mullocracy. This sort of popular unrest has the possibility of exploding should that critical tipping point be reached, and burning cars and gas stations indicate that the unhappiness with Iranian internal conditions may be steadily creeping to that point.

You have to wonder if Hugo Chavez is watching and learning.

Heh ... nah.
 
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I fully expect Iran to get back on the course of slow change, with moderate/conservative leaders, which was the case from 1988 - 2004. The failure of Ahmadinejad to parlay his early popularity into success means he likely won’t win re-election, and the conservatives will probably lose the Majles. The elections for the body which, among other things, chooses a new Supreme Leader when the opportunity arises, were swept by moderates.

The danger is that it may be tempting for the religious conservatives to try hang on, stabbing the nascent democracy in the back. If they try something and fail, then the role of the Shi’ite ulama (Guardian Council) will be greatly diminished. If they try and succeed, Iran will be going into a very dark and dangerous period. If they don’t try and accept the change, there will be real opportunities for the West.

But is Iran really floating on oil? Iran, like Saudi Arabia, is very secretive. I would not be surprised if in both Iran and Saudi Arabia oil production is at or has already peaked.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
If they don’t try and accept the change, there will be real opportunities for the West.
Kinda like the CPSU did, eh Dr. Erb or the Korean Workers Party or the CPPRC...I’m sure they’re going to change...oh and that conservative/moderate leadership Dr. Erb it achieved what? Why can’t you just own up to the fact that the Mullah’s run Iran and that they are not nice people and that they are most likely not going to go gently into that good night? I realize that might put you in the same room as those "awful people", the Republicans/conservatives, Israelis, and Pragmatists but come on Doc, you can do it if you try....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe, you obviously haven’t been studying Iran since the revolution and looking at the complexity. It’s not run by the "mullahs" and they’ve had to make considerable compromises over the years. Iran is more democratic than any other state in the region except Israel and — hopefully moving forward — now Iraq. They may be a model of how an Islamic democracy can develop. They certainly are not a dictatorship.

Of course, you do remember how the Chinese communist party changed, the Soviet communist party changed and other states have changed. In any event, we’re not about to win a war with Iran or force them to change, and efforts at causing internal disruption have backfired (reformers in Iran don’t want our "help"). South Korea had brutal authoritarian rulers as well. North Korea is an exception, most states are able to change and do change, and Iran changed considerably — liberalized — from 1988 to 2004. Also, Tehran is a real party city — drugs and alcohol everywhere, sort of like the US during the prohibition. The religious clerics don’t have a lot of control over average people. Also, the clerics are diverse, they aren’t like the Taliban or anything, and they have their own internal factional disputes, and there are many reformers even among the religious elite.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
It’s not run by the "mullahs" and they’ve had to make considerable compromises over the years.
Guardian Council
Iran is more democratic than any other state in the region except Israel and — hopefully moving forward — now Iraq.

Guardian Council outlaws candidates not OK to them...Geee, sounds like the CPSU and the USSR, doesn’t it?
the Chinese communist party changed, the Soviet communist party changed and other states have changed.
Tianamen Square, the Soviet Putsch of ’91, do these ring bells, how about the Velvet Revolution or the fall of the Krenz Goverment in the DDR? Those systems did NOT change they were replaced...I don’t know Dr. Erb but whilst I don’t ahve my PhD I have extensive knowledge of that era and those nations AND Iran....


 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Scott,

The Guaradian Council pretty much vetos any candidate they don’t like. Imagine America as a "nascent democracy" where Jerry Falwell and his cronies could choose the candidates...sure you would find "moderates" and even "liberals" but they would all skew to the right and be religious.

Oh, Jerry Fallwell could call upon millions of Christian Guards to impose moral order anytime he wanted. Yeah, you know, I think most people in America would call that a fascist state and not a democracy.

The presence of elections, and even competing factions within a ruling party does not a democracy make. Let me know when Tudeh is allowed to exist again.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Tudeh is allowed to exist again.
NEVER, the Godless Atheists!
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Harun: America as a nascent democracy had slavery and women couldn’t vote. Democracies are hard to build, and despite the fact the Guardian Council vetoes a lot of candidates, there is real competition, and moderates have different positions than the religious conservatives.

Joe - Do you really think that China’s government was replaced?! Deng Xiopeng stayed in charge until he died, and named his successor. Tianamen square happened after ten years of reform, and was crushed by the government. Gorbachev changed the Communist party long before 1991. Governments change.

But I doubt we’ll see Tudeh anytime soon.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Joe - Do you really think that China’s government was replaced?! Deng Xiopeng stayed in charge until he died, and named his successor. Tianamen square happened after ten years of reform, and was crushed by the government.
Tianamen Square did the CPPRC change, no....

Gorbachev changed the Communist party long before 1991. Governments change
No he didn’t because if he had:
1) There would still be a USSR; and
2) There would have been no coup.

Authoritarian governments DON’T CHANGE, that’s my point. But if you want to keep on with be my guest.
I can think of only two governments, one Right and one Left that changed, Chile, and OK Spain after Franco, and the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. The rest of the world has to throw them out of office, with varying degrees of violence and opposition, from the Velvet Revolution to the fighting to replace Ceausescu, but in almost NO case did the government go willing or willingly change.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe, you can’t deny that the USSR during perestroika wasn’t different than before. In fact, after Stalin it changed quite a bit (no more death camps for one thing). And, of course, Deng Xiopeng made major changes in China — compare Maoist China with the China of today! Iran was also changing a lot from 1988 to 2004. Ultimately the change could be gradual evolution, or it could lead to breaking point where the regime falls. But change is real. Czechoslovakia would have changed significantly if the Soviets hadn’t invaded in 1968. South Korea and Taiwan also went through change.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Joe, you can’t deny that the USSR during perestroika wasn’t different than before.
Did their defense spending fall? Nope, did they handle Chernbyl differently, Nope...did the economy improve....Nope. Perestroika and Glasnost were to REFORM the USSR, instead they destroyed it....The USSR did not reform it imploded.
And, of course, Deng Xiopeng made major changes in China — compare Maoist China with the China of today!
And who’se in charge? And who had to massacre thousands to STAY in charge?
Iran was also changing a lot from 1988 to 2004.
What they used smaller stones to stone the "adulterers"? Because I remember the "moderates" coming to power, the nuclear program continued and nothing changed on the domestic front because the Guardian Council voided and/or opposed, successfully all real change.

Nice try Doc, but today it just isn’t flying....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe, you’re dancing around trying to avoid admitting the obvious. The Soviet Union underwent great changes during perestroika and glasnost. People could complain publicly about bureaucrats, newspapers could print letters and carry opinions critical of the government. Even Ronald Reagan saw the changes, and stopped the massive defense build up after 1986, helping Gorbachev remain in power (something Reagan gets a lot of credit for). There were massive changes during that time. If you try to deny that, you look utterly foolish.

And you can’t deny that Iran underwent considerable liberalization either. Dress codes changed, public policy allowed a lot more openness. They never were anything like the Taliban, and in fact in Tehran to this day you can party with alocohol and drugs in places like the famous "speakeasys" of the American prohibition.

China didn’t change? Compare Maoist China with the current regime! Compare the opportunities for Chinese then with now. China has a kind of state capitalism similar to Taiwan and South Korea in the 50s and 60s (and those states changed from that to democracy later on).

Come on, man, you have to realize that when you are so unwilling to admit you’re wrong that you make ridiculous claims you need to just give up. No one is claiming they’ve become western democracies, but they are changing. Sheesh.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Doc the guy dancing around the truth is YOU, you can’t believe it, not that you can’t see it.
The Soviet Union underwent great changes during perestroika and glasnost.
No, it underwent no meaningful changes Doc. Gorbachev wanted to REFORM the USSR. It would not reform the result was the CIS and then the attempted coup. The end result was the dissolution of the USSR, not its reform. See an authoritarian government did NOT change it went away.
China didn’t change? Compare Maoist China with the current regime! Compare the opportunities for Chinese then with now. China has a kind of state capitalism similar to Taiwan and South Korea in the 50s and 60s (and those states changed from that to democracy later on).
Yes and when the PRC’s economy collapses, because of debt-ridden state owned enterprises, and the failure to create an open, transparent and robust banking and financial center the CPPRC will be left with a very few unpalatable choice. It will go out in a Velvet Revolution, or in riots and ignominy, akin to the Argentine Junta after its failed attempt to conquer Taiwan, or it will go out like the Ceauşescu regiome in Romania. Marxist-Leninist states and parties don’t reform Doc.
And you can’t deny that Iran underwent considerable liberalization either
In what meaningful way, Doc? The nuclear program continued on, the support for terror continued on, and any political/social reform was stymied. And now even those cosmetic reforms are under attack.

Authoritarian governments don’t just “become” non-authoritarian governments, even in Korea there were massive protests and riots, and only when the middle classes sided with the students did things change. AND Korea had ties to the US and a US presence, Teheran does not and does not WANT such ties.

Your problem Doc, is that you keep saying things will change, because you WANT them to change, that way you don’t have to own up to the failure and foolishness of your Internationalist approach to Iran and other regimes
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Again, your problem is that you are denying the obvious fact that governments change — China is hugely different than it was in 1976! The US started with slavery, women not having basic rights, and not being a real democracy. The US changed. You’re simply wrong Joe, laughably wrong, in trying to pretend that governments don’t change. It’s an indefensible position.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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