This may sound strange, because, most Iranians (living in Iran) are under severe personal financial pressure. Many people work multiple jobs, and the economy continues to stay depressed. It is widely believed that when International sanctions are lifted, Iran (as a nation) will finally be able to enter the world’s banking system – and as a result issue bonds, and borrow money on international markets.
This NEW money, it is widely believed, will result in the prosperity of ordinary Iranians.
I hate to be the purveyor of bad news, but that is NOT exactly true. First of all, there is wide talk of a new round of sanctions being imposed on Iran – after the ‘nuclear’ sanctions are removed. BUT besides all that – BIG BUT – one major impact of sanctions has been that Iran’s government has basically been unable to borrow money from global markets.
Iran, has virtually NO sovereign debt on a relative basis. According to Wikipedia, Iran’s total debt is 9 Bn USD. Its ratio of sovereign debt to gdp is 4% (that ranks not far from Kuwiat, Oman, Saudi Arabia etc.). But on a per capita basis, this is about $170 – per Iranian. Contrast that to per capita debt of say the U.S. – which is $58K, or Germany – which is $68K, or Netherlands – which is $226K or Switzerland – which is $154K or Iceland – which is $283K….
Yes, the day you are born in the Netherlands, or Iceland or Switzerland … the very day ‘yo mamma’ puts a dummy in your mouth – you will be inheriting her multi-hundred thousand debt that you will have to pay back through your taxes by working hard ALL your life for her!! (So, tell me why Iranians want to leave Iran and immigrate to Europe? Isn’t this the secret behind all those Syrian refugees being welcomed to Europe … don’t Europeans now have more people now to shoulder the debt?!!)
Without Sovereign debt, Iranians are actually super RICH! Iran has a ‘young nation’ without ANY real debt. Everything they earn, they can plow back into themselves, and NOT make some fat banker or fat depositor OUTSIDE Iran wealthy … at the price of Iranian hard work and labor. In fact, if Iran generates a surplus, it can be a net lender to the world and collect interest from other debtor nations.
But all this about to change? Why? Well – in one-word: corruption.
You see, lack of borrowing capacity, has actually kept the Mullahs in check. The country had limited ‘government funds’, and the Mullahs have been insecure and have been trying to do something (even for show) to stay in power. So the bulk of those resources HAD to be spent on the country to simply feed people and keep the country running. So there wasn’t much money left for them to steal. Don’t get me wrong they have IN FACT stolen a lot. We all know about Khamenei’s son’s billion-dollar bank accounts in UK, Dubai, and Turkey that were ‘impounded’! But that is all about to change.
With sanctions lifted, and oil prices low, the Mullahs will have to borrow money to simply put on more ‘show’ projects to say well ‘here’s the prosperity’ we promised. So they will go on a multi-billion dollar shopping sprees for stadiums, roads, airports, planes… you name it… And you can bet they will be funneling cash from these purchases (over-invoicing as they call it) into their own pockets. They will be racking up debt, and filling their pockets, and their foreign bank accounts. And, we all know that one motivation they have for all that, is their fundamental insecurity. They all know, (as we do), that they are fundamentally unpopular and have imposed their presence on the Iranian public. And, one day or rather any day, the people could rise up and kick them out of power. So (just like the Shah’s cronies), they will be establishing second homes and investments overseas – as an insurance policy for the day they are kicked out of power.
Without an open, liberal, free democracy – (AND A FREE PRESS) – the mullahs will be able to run up sovereign debt, and fill their pockets. There will be no accountability, no public scrutiny, no shareholders – ABSOLUTELY NO ONE – to watch the money coming in. The scale of corruption will be beyond belief, and in 10 years or so, Iranians are all going to look at each other and wonder what the hell happened? How did all this money get borrowed, and Iran basically have nothing to show for it?
Iranians will be poor – truly poor.
That is why, it is more important than ever for Iranians to rise up NOW, to set up a real democracy. True, free, open and fair elections. And a free press that can scrutinize public officials.