The state of the Iranian state

Ghostvillage in Kurdistan/Iran 2006
Ghostvillage in Kurdistan/Iran 2006

My Armenian Iranian friends tell me a lot about the state of the Iranian state — or the lack thereof. I was surprised to hear that there are no taxes in Iran, neither direct or indirect. Sounds like paradise for neo-liberals — besides the absence of liberal rights. And in return for the 0% tax rate, citizens are entitled to zero service. No social security, no social benefit, no retirement fund, no health care, nothing. All is dealt with a little hustling and help from the friends.

So where does the state gets its money from if not from tax revenues one may ask? Well, the state gets the money from state-owned companies in the industrial sector extracting oil, minerals — especially uranium — or in the primary sector. Basically the state does not care a monkey’s about the economy and how people are doing with business. What the government is interested in is what is in people’s minds and how to control it. The economy is left entirely to the private sector.

Before 1979, the situation was not so bad for Armenians and other minorities. It is only since the revolution that the new authority installed a one way type of thought and educated the people into believing in these types of dichotomies: faithful/unfaithful Muslim/non-Muslim, friend/enemy, us/them. Of course the average Joe (or in that case the average Hossein) just follows the movement and gets full of hatred without understanding much why. It is a shame I am told, since Iranians are naturally very hospitable and polite people. Not anymore since the 1979 revolution. Only educated and intelligent people are able to distance themselves from the social pressure imposed. Of course they all fly from the country as soon as possible, unfortunately. There is thus an amazing brain-drain from the country. In the long run, it will only be a piece of land inhabited by uneducated peasants, led by self-‘educated’ theologian fanatics.

3 thoughts on “The state of the Iranian state

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  1. Considérations très intéressantes. Je m’étais déjà surpris en apprenant que d’autres monarchies du Golfe sont des pays sans impôts, mais j’ignorais que c’était aussi le cas en Iran. Peut-être l’exception de cette absence d’État est tout de même dans la police, la justice et l’éducation, mais dans quelle mesure ceci ne concerne que les villes, je ne le sias pas du tout.
    Je soge aussi à l’ironie de l’histoire, puisque cette absence d’État est le produit d’une révolution qui compta dans ses débuts avec des nombreux militants et organisations de gauche, susceptibles de vouloir amener l’État social ou autogestionnaire dans les coins les plus réculés du pays…
    Ironie de l’histoire, sans doute.
    Asís Juan.

  2. “In a talk to the Harvard School of Public Health Thursday (Jan. 16), Hamid Sadeghipour presented an overview of the government-run health sector. He described a system that has sophisticated health centers, hospitals, and medical schools at the regional level and thousands of free, community-based clinics that provide access to primary care at the local level.”

    Greetings 😉

  3. Interesting. He is the vice chancellor of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, and his view differs from the one of a Christian minority living in Tehran. I didn’t ask them specifically about which public service was dysfunctional though. I guess the police and the justice system are top-notch — quick and efficient.

    However, there is something I do not quite understand in his speech. He says that “They have some extraordinary health achievements.” Yet he only mentions the universal primary care as health coverage. The article concludes: “In addition, care for the more critically injured is not without problems. That system, he said, is run privately and has generated complaints about access.”

    I guess it is all in what we understand by “primary care” that we judge what ” extraordinary health achievements” are.

    Thank you for your link 🙂

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