Tehran has much to learn from its GCC neighbours |
Gulf Daily News - 14 June, 2012
Iranians have suffered greatly since the country's Islamic revolution in 1979, a security conference heard yesterday.
Dar Akhbar Al Khaleej Press and Printing House chairman Anwar Abdulrahman said bad management had forced millions to move abroad in search of a better life following the overthrow of the monarchy by Ayatollah Khomeini.
"Iran's currency is the toman. Before the revolution seven tomans equalled one US dollar," he said during a speech at the Arabian Gulf Security: Regional Facts and International Interests Conference at the Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea and Spa.
"Today, unfortunately, due to bad management, a dollar stands at 189 tomans.
"Inflation like this is crippling what should be a really vibrant economy, compared with the Gulf Co-operation Council countries.
"The difference is huge.
"Largely because GCC countries not only provide jobs for their own citizens, but also millions of others from Western Europe, America, sub-continental India and the Far East, who are making a decent living from opportunities created by Gulf states.
"In fact, Iran's main 'contribution' today is a grant to Hizbollah of Lebanon of more than $ 500 million a year.
"If they were wise enough, this money would be better spent developing factories and industries to create precious jobs for their own people.
"More than half-a-million Iranians are forced to make a living in the UAE," Mr Abdulrahman said.
"Realistically then, Iran's participation since the revolution has been no more than eight years of war with Iraq and creating unnecessary problems everywhere, especially given its dream of becoming a superpower by investing heavily in nuclear technology."
Mr Abdulrahman also hit out at commentators who distort the true picture about the Persian state.
"Unfortunately, we see many in the West and Middle East who bestow upon themselves the title of experts on Iran," he said.
"Sadly, these self-styled connoisseurs base their knowledge on no more than 10-12 books about Iran.
"A country with a 2,500-year written history of wars, turmoil, conquests and invasions cannot be understood just by reading a few books!
"We as people of this region, have read, lived and suffered from such ambiguities.
"We are far better qualified than any foreign expert, because when you read Iranian literature, especially of the last 500 years, you find little but false proclamations and improper knowledge used to indoctrinate the minds of younger generations in the name of sectism," Mr Abdulrahman said.
"Compare this again to the GCC states, which in the last 50 years have all developed systems of education, health services, housing, job opportunities and entrepreneurial skills.
"These you can all see for yourselves.
"No GCC country harbours any enmity towards Iran or its people, yet Iran itself until now has reciprocated little in the way of true friendship or neighbourliness.
"In conclusion, as a person who reads, writes and speaks Persian fluently, I feel that Iran has a great opportunity to behave, perform and contribute positively to the development of this region," he said.
"Achievements by the West are the result of separation of religion from politics.
"But as long as Iranian politics is led by theocrats, I see no better tomorrow!"