FRANCE: Social class differences in Iran are striking. More than 403 million deposit accounts in the country, which represent only 0.4% of total account holders, have 52% of full deposited capital. This is according to Ahmed Tavakoli, a member of the Expediency Discernment Council, in a recent interview with the state-run Fasle Eghtesad he said,
“If we cannot provide effective solutions to this situation, we will have further problems.”
The destruction of the middle class
On one hand, there are Iran’s regional warmongering policies through its militia proxies. On the other hand, the institutionalized corruption within the regime has weakened the middle class since Ahmadinejad’s presidency. This situation pushed a big part of the middle class into a lower class resulting in wide public dissatisfaction.
As a result, a new class was formed of deeply anti-government people who have nothing else to lose. This class is considered dangerous by the regime because it seeks to disrupt the existing order.
Iranian officials say that after the Coronavirus crisis, 4 million people will be added to the country’s unemployed masses. Many of them at risk of falling into the poor unemployed category. The authorities had admitted that this new social class is threatening the whole regime as people have nothing to lose.
During the mid-November uprisings in Iran, more than 100 ambulances were set on fire.
Analysts say that this event is read in a completely different way compared to the fire of a police car or a trash can. Meaning that the rebels were not considering these objects as their own.
Abbas Akhundi, former minister of Rouhani’s cabinet, believes that the burning of the ambulances meant the break of all common norms among all classes of society. In the state-run Iran Newspaper on April 18, 2020, Akhundi saying:
“Our society is paying more than anything else for the unprecedented stagnation of justice indicators. Society is always waiting for negative and unprecedented events to happen.”
Expected protests in the near future
Eghtesad-e Saramd, a website close to the government, has warned the regime about the upcoming uprisings and protests. “Those who think that without a strong economy, only relying on military power can ensure security for the country, in the long run, should remember that the Soviet Union did not collapse with a foreign military attack. The enemy was their own dysfunctional economy, which defeated them without firing a single bullet. Because, so far, no country has been able to create a military that is able to confront the army of poverty and misery”, (the state-run Eghtesad-e Saramd April 27, 2020).
Besides the social situation on the verge of collapse, the Coronavirus pandemic is also playing a vital role with a devastating impact on public health. Both social and economic consequences could be far more dangerous to the regime. They are expected to appear as an economic crisis in the first place, leading to a social explosion in the short term.
“The current situation is so difficult that social and security problems are likely to happen, not only in the post-COVID-19 times but also in the middle of the crisis”, said Morteza Mobal-legh, the Interior Ministry’s political and security deputy in Khatami’s government. He also added that the country is in a critical situation and the regime seeks to manage these crises. (the state-run agency Jomhouri Eslami April 12, 2020.
Is quarantine the way to salvation?
Some analysts affiliated to the regime believe that the most logical and sensible way for its own survival is to create a kind of convergence between the dilemma of protecting people’s lives by a rigid quarantine or saving the economy and opening factories and offices, suggesting that quarantine should be maintained.
However, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has already shown that he does not want to spend any money on the poor and affected population while there are billions of dollars under his control. So, on April 11, he repealed the quarantine rules and regulations, putting middle-class workers at risk and causing a massive crisis. In this way, he inadvertently laid the foundations for further uprisings from which he can hardly make it out alive.
Lead Image: Iran Protests January 2020 – By MojNews, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85819807