What have Iranians learned in the past 30 years?


by Faramarz_Fateh

Since a couple of years into the Islamic revolution (lets say 1983 or so), majority of Iranians have been pretty unhappy with the state of things in their country.  Granted us Iranians are never entirely happy about anything, but unhappiness and dissatisfaction with the Islamic regime has and still runs very deep. 

Looking back, what have we, as a nation learned from all of this?  We did our best to oust a semi dictator (I'm sure an arguable point) who wore western suits by Yves Saint Laurent and Bill Blass and spoke English & French, was educated in Switzerland with an absolute dictator who spoke Arabic and wore Abaa and Ammameh and was educated in Qom and Najaf.

During the time of the Shah, about 5% of the population had it very good, another 10-15% had it good and the other 80% struggled to make ends meet.  Its pretty much the same now.  Wouldn't you say so?

The Islamic Revolution happened just like any other; masses of people taking actions mostly based on emotions without really thinking about consequence of their actions. Are Iranians doing the same thing again?  Is Mousavi the saviour?  What do we mean when we say democracy?  A political and governance system similar to that of U.S. or U.K., or something else?  If so, what?  What will be the role of Islam in all of this?  Can Islam remain in the back ground?  Do we know of any country in which Islam is not part of the politics?  

Where are the people who are going to run this democratic government?  In the past 30 years, the Islamic regime has not allowed anyone other than their own candidates become known to the general public.  When I talk to family and friends in Iran they really don't have anyone in mind to head a democratically elected government.

As I think more and more about this situation, I become more convinced that maybe the first step for Iran and Iranians is to identify the future leaders before the old ones are removed.  Otherwise, the vacuum thats generated will suck in all kinds of garbage and Iranians have another 30 years of misery.





more from Faramarz_Fateh
ramin parsa

Dear Faramarz

by ramin parsa on

"I guarantee you that GDP of Australia is not smaller than Iran's. "

Priceless. But why waste your time with the frivolous eaters amongst us, one comment wasted was enough, I would say. There are those who have no life; they live their miserable existence only to bash freedom, democracy and prosperity in Iran. They live for their own paychecks, the bloody ones they receive from Tehran, and support tyrannical regimes as a profession.

Sadly, there are many on this site, and you know who they are, which qualify as paid commentary assassins (cyber basijis). It's sickening, but the IRI spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year disseminating propaganda and misinformation in the all-important West. They know all too well that any revolution or regime change will be made or broken in the west, and this is why they exhaust so much resources in brain-washing the masses in Europe and America.




My dearest ( and I mean that ) Capt

by Faramarz_Fateh on

In 3 responses I have indicated that the %s cited were personal opinion.  These #s do not have any real effect on the subject matter of this blog.  Whether 80% of Iranians during the time of Shah were trying to make ends meet or 67%, it don't matter.  

You seem to have a propensity to post links to obscure blogs in which lay people spew numbers and then you use these links as gospel.

I don't do this.  I do however use common sense in analyzing content whether written text or data makes sense or not.

What I said in my last response was that the cited $840B PPP based GDP does not make sense.  Do you know what Rial-Dollar exchange rate was used in CIA's calculations?  Many of the calculations done by CIA do not take into account that there are $10,800 rials to a dollar (for example today).  

I guarantee you that GDP of Australia is not smaller than Iran's.




Fateh EAD

by capt_ayhab on

If you kindly step into my office I have couple of words with you.

Although I despise your hateful agenda and all the hate filled threads and comments, but I used to think that despite our great disagreements and despite total opposition to your stance, you were a worthy adversary, who wrote comments and blog fully supported by facts and documents.

I really mean this, I always hold respect for an adversary who comes forth with proper and provable facts and numbers. Dude, and I say this with utmost sincerity, you are getting careless. Stuff like these numbers that you and your aliases present only discredits you at best.

What happened dude? are you slipping on me or what? A hamvatanish advise, get your sh!t together, these crap that you post lately will come back to bite you in your behind.

But  I still love you ha [brotherly], and hope you get my drift.



Getting side tracked, AGAIN!

by Faramarz_Fateh on

May I plead to responders of this post to share their ideas on the MAIN subject which is lack of leadership in case a regime change happens (I know wishful thinking).  But please indulge me and imagine a regime change is possible.  Do you think a nation under 30 years of oppression can survive a sudden shift to democracy?

Don't worry so much about 80% or other #s sited.  Replace those #s with whatever you like if that helps. 

Much obliged. 


Bloated GDP #s due to wrong exchange rate

by Faramarz_Fateh on

The GDP# in CIA's "fact book" is beyond wrong.  The real GDP vs. PPP can vary greatly due to exchange rate with the U.S. $

Who knows what data CIA used for their calculations.  But to think Iran's per capita is $12,800 one needs to put pretty thick blinders on.

If the same exchange rate was used for the cited $77B figure for 1977, manipulated PPP for Iran at that time would have been close to $600B with a population of 32M.

I am not at all surprised that supporters of Islamic regimes will believe anything that serves their purpose, including a $842B GDP for Iran! 


Mr. ramin parsa

by capt_ayhab on

You stated [In fact, in 1978, 80% of Tehranis were first or second generation dahatis (villagers). And the greater majority of Tehranis being
massively ignorant (after all, they actually saw Khomeini's face on the moon in 1978), it was a recipe for disaster as the economy took a
downturn in the fall of 1977. Who better to lead this ignorant and foolish bunch?]

Firstly, love to see source for these numbers you present. Asides from that, if you in one breath claim that Shah brought in such bright prosperity and modernization to Iran then how come 80%[according to you] of Tehran's population, which allegedly should have been the most progressive ended up to be all ignorant and foolish?

Do you not realize how you are contradicting yourself? And besides there are many sources to get the statistical data about Iran's GDP then and now. i.e. CIA fact book.

FYI Iran's GDP(PPP)* is $841.7 billion (2008 est.) and not $140 Billion as you claim, that is $12,800 per capita(PPP)*, compared to $73 billion in 1977.

Source: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world...

Keep in mind please before we jump into name callings and sorts, One should use accurate data for comparison purposes and not self made and imaginary statistics ! ;-o)


*(PPP) = Purchasing Power Parity


Dear Ramin

by Faramarz_Fateh on

We are pretty much saying the same thing.  I am saying the patient has a few days to live.  You are saying the patient is dying.  Final outcome is the same. 

The numbers in my blog and in most other blogs for that matter are personal opinions and not facts. The 80% figure may have been as low as 50 or as high as 90.  Who knows.  All I am certain of is that a huge % of Iran's population was anti shah in the late 70s as was seen in demonstrations across Iran.  There must have been a reason for it.  Wouldn't you agree?

Regardless, I am not advocating that things were as bad in the time of the Shah as they are today. No! There is not even a comparison. Everything was far better back then. 


ramin parsa


by ramin parsa on

As someone who almost always agrees with your posts, your quote, ""During the time of the Shah, ... 80% struggled to make ends meet" is way way off, in my estimations, almost ludicrous.

In 1975, Iran had such a growing economy we had to actually import foreigners like Koreans, Philipinos and Pakistanis to work in Iran. Today, the unemployment rate is officially at 20%, but probably more like 30%. Today, 70% of Iranians live at or below the poverty line. Tehran has 600,000 prostitutes, 40% of which are married and the husbands are aware of this practice (according to one study). Iran has the greatest number of heroin addicts per capita world-wide! I can go on and on...

In 1978, Iran and Spain had the same exact GDP. Today, Iran's GDP is $140 billion dollars per year while Spain's GDP is over One Trillion dollars! And Spain has NO OIL!

I dare say this is not the Shah's Iran, not even close. 

The real problem of the Shah's regime, one which most people neglect to talk about, and one that the former regime should have expected, was that with the oil boom of 1973, millions of villagers poured into Tehran, expecting to find their share of the black gold paved on the streets of Tehran.

Tehran, which was a Qajar village at one time, could not and did not have adequate housing for this massive influx of people looking to make a living in the city. Most ended up in South Tehran, and being poor and uneducated, they ended up under the influence of mullahs, as for most, the Mosque provided their only source of peace and connection to the village, in an otherwise unruly, robust, modern, and sometimes, unforgiving modern city. 

In fact, in 1978, 80% of Tehranis were first or second generation dahatis (villagers). And the greater majority of Tehranis being massively ignorant (after all, they actually saw Khomeini's face on the moon in 1978), it was a recipe for disaster as the economy took a downturn in the fall of 1977. Who better to lead this ignorant and foolish bunch?

A machiavellian mullah.




One thing is clear

by Abarmard on

We have a long way to go in achieving greatness, if ever. For the time being, I hope that people gain as much modernity and civility as possible.

Along the way, your question will be easier answered if the economy of Iran picks up. I believe as long as we are struggling to make the ends meet, the true accomplishments and social experiences will not show, as many part of civility might be a mixture of economy and national culture. 

Great question. thanks for the blog. 

mostafa ghanbari

هر که نا موخت از گذشت روزگار هیچ نا موزد ز هیچ اموزگار

mostafa ghanbari


سالهای سال است که که از پیروی خدا و پیغمبر به چیزی بهتر از حقارت و رنج دست نیا فته ایم؛ خدا را گم کرده ایم معرفت را فروخته ایم. ما خائنان به خوبی‌ و خدا ییم؛ ما شیفتگان بهشت و دلشده گان کوثری م. آزادی مو هبت خدا ی راستین است و فاصله آن با ملت ما فاصله‌ای بس دراز است. ما آخرین شانس آزادی فرزند نمان به خمینی و خا منه‌ای فروختیم

ebi amirhosseini

Ali jaan salaam

by ebi amirhosseini on

Very good observation.


Ebi aka Haaji

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

professor faramarz, you are a font of wisdom

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

such wise questions and comments by you. i think you have proven yourself already more apt to lead us gaav Iranians than Reza Pahlavi. Congratulations on this (crowning!) achievement. 

Ali P.

Dear Faramarz

by Ali P. on

You are absolutely right about not necessarily having to have a source or reference, in a blog like this.

I was just curious.

When I lived under the Shah, I really didn't see many "struggling", but then again, I lived in Teheran, and somewhat "baalaayeh shahr", so I was not personally exposed to 'a life of struggle' much, though I am sure it existed for many.

(albatteh, personally,between you & me, har chee oonjaa aaghaaee kardeem, az damaaghemoon dar aavordan, ba'd keh oomadeem khaarej!)

Over the years, I just happened to meet many who came to the US, as a student during the Shah, and upon questioning, I would realize many of them came from  very working class backgrounds.


To be able to afford to send your kid to the US, or Europe, may not have made you rich, but it would certainly take you out the circle of those who were 'struggling'. (And we had about 100,000 kids, only here in the US)

The new Iranian students I meet, these days,usually come from extra-rich families.

So it makes me wonder what percentage of families, could afford the luxury of having a kid in a US university, back then, versus now. 

Again, like you ,no hardcore data here; just an observation. I'd certainly welcome and appreciate yours, and others' comments regarding this.


Ali P.


Dear Ali P

by Faramarz_Fateh on

Your question as usual is very valid. 

The 80% statistic is purely personal observation.  Definition of "struggling to make ends meet" is also subjective.  

I am thinking though that since this is a blog and not a place where we share academic white papers, sources are not "required"; although some posters have a habit of posting references that are perhaps best left out. 

By the way, you have any thoughts on % of struggling? 


mostafa ghanbari

" The answer my friend is blowing in the wind"

by mostafa ghanbari on


Let's be honest and accept that the masses in our country are in love with GOD, ISLAM and MULLAHS. So, any logical question related to expediency and appropriateness of the goals and plans in our country will be faced with this answer: " the answer my friend is blowing in the wind" It is obvious that our masses prefer a man speaking Arabic,(The language of God) and wearing turban to a man in suit, speaking English and French.

At the time of Shah our country was just in need of ten years to turn itself to a significant country; but  the masses...

Ali P.

Innocent Question

by Ali P. on

"During the time of the Shah, ... 80% struggled to make
ends meet."

Is there a source or reference attached to this claim, or are you basing this on your own observation and experience?



Ali P.


The most important lesson

by Babak_SD on

Mr. Fateh,

The most important lesson learned in my view is the importance of respect for all human rights.  A society cannot be called free or democratic without it.


Robert Leggett

A Season of Redemption: Freedom for the Iranian People

by Robert Leggett on

A Season of Redemption- Freedom for the Iranian People

With absolute faith in God and Humanity, I survive my days in hopes that on my last one, I will have left this world a better place. I type these words with the desire of reaching the Iranian people. I will send this letter to every international media outlet available, with the faith that it will not fall on deaf ears and that you will be given the opportunity for it to indeed penetrate your hearts.

As a citizen of this world, I have been blessed with the following words, written in the blood, tears, and struggle of men with unwavering faith and resolve:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”

Yet comfort and peace evade me, when in this late age, there are still those who I cannot share this gift with. This gift of god given rights is non- negotiable, it is not subject to compromise by any government of man, nor should you ever oblige to beg for it. It is yours for the taking, peacefully or by force….

In recent weeks and months, the world has witnessed the Iranian spirit and righteousness of you who long for freedom. You, who are ambassadors of hope in a world that god knows longs for it. You, who are as lions, ready to tear through the chains of oppression and injustice of a self serving tyrannical government.

Woe to those who use fear, corruption, and lies in order to control the hearts and minds of their people. Woe to those politicians who are false in the name of god, and invoke his name in the course of manipulation. Finally, Woe to Dictator Khamenei and his puppet Ahmadinejad, who stir up hate for your neighbors and fellow man, in attempt to blind you from the truth at hand. The truth, that once in for all, your time has come.

Change in Iran, can only stem from the roots of the same determination and spirit which world has witnessed in your people of recent. The same determination in which Neda gave up her spirit to god in heaven as she was martyred for the greatest of all causes, freedom. So you face a struggle in which each and every one of you can choose between 2 roads. You must decide how you want to be served your current cup of injustice, torture, censorship, and deferred dreams…..

On your knees or standing up?

Both choices may end with you laying down, but only will give you honor and glory. Only one will give your children the choices, freedom and happiness that you never had. Only one will give you justice for the unthinkable crimes that your government has committed against your people. Only one will give you freedom.

In closing, I say to you this:

Dare to dream of better days for the sake of your people. Rage against hate and injustice. Rise up as one voice, and remove from power, these tyrants, these murderers of children, these desecraters of all that is good….by any means necessary.

Fear not death in the pursuit of a divine cause of god. For the time of freedom in Iran is near. This is your destiny. This is your Season of Redemption….

One of many that stand with you,

Robert M. Leggett