Friday, 25 January 2013

Iran Live Coverage: Wishing Away The Economic Problems

Queue for Subsidised Chicken, July 20120655 GMT: Economic Wishes. Earlier this week we highlighted President Ahmadinejad's defiant proclamation that all is well with the economy: "Don't want to buy our oil? Then you go to hell."

But how do you maintain the illusion, amid daily reports of inflation, falling production, a shaky currency, rising imports, and unemployment?

One strategy is to ignore this in favour of a couple of press releases about the advance of Iranian technology and manufacturing. So this morning Press TV's economic stories are "Iran to Launch 1st Ocean-Going Oil Tanker" and "Iran Builds Gas Turbo-Compressor".

Another possibility is to publish a story of a genuine development, but to miss its point. So Tehran TImes proclaimed yesterday that 17 million Iranians will receive food coupons for essential goods. It did not further enquire about the significance of more than 20% of the population being put on urgent assistance. Nor did the website, in reporting that the Parliament and Government had agreed to $2 billion in aid for those food coupons, note the Majlis criticism of the Ahmadinejad administration for bringing Iranians to the point of desperation.

Then there is the tactic of publishing a supportive analysis which says that economic problems are being exaggerated. US-based Djavad Salehi-Isfahani offers a possibility today when he writes, "Is Iranian Hyperinflation a Mirage?" and gives a definitive Yes.

We will explain in a separate feature why Salehi-Isfahani's question --- and most of the answer --- are red herrings, minimising the real economic issues. And in our regular Week in Review from Arseh Sevom, we will be noting some other developments putting Ahmadinejad's "Go to Hell" in perspective.

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

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