Faramarz Fateh [see: “Nothing, nada, zilch“] as usual has shown typical FoxNews bias, by trying to hide all the actual facts on the ground, and instead using manipulated statistics to prove his point (and to what end, only God knows).
In my letter “Iran stones 1 person and you call that backward?“, I never defended stoning, I rather said that one step backwards does not mean one should ignore all of Iran's progress forward.
To narrow down all Muslims as sheep, and implying that all Muslims do is concern themselves with hatred of Jews and Baha'is, and which hand to use to wash themselves is not only ridiculous, but if it was about Jews it would be slammed down as downright anti-Semitic.
I, a practicing Muslim, have both Jewish and Baha'i friends, and even if the myth was true about concerning myself of which hand to use to wash myself (which is not a concern of a Muslim), I would say that it is ridiculous to think that somehow any of this would blind site me of the realities around me.
However, I would say that the world's Muslims are much more aware of global politics and the realities of the world, than the Americans who seem to be more interested in Paris Hilton's imprisonment than US and Iraqis being killed on a daily basis in Iraq. It seemed that the news was pushing the Anna Nicole Smith death as a top news story, rather than the massacre of 52 Iraqis by US forces.
Faramarz needs to answer why Muslims around the world seem to be more in touch with the politics and realities in their countries than average Americans. In my opinion, it is not the Muslim who is blind from hatred, but the average American who is taught hate of the “other” (back then the German and Japanese, then the Russian, then the Koreans, then the Vietnamese, then the Afghan and the Iraqi, and now the Iranian, when will it stop?)
Faramaz, you are wrong to think that the US citizen is decent enough not to want to kill Iranians. No, if that were true, Iraqis would not have been bombed to death the past 5 years. 150,000 Iraqis have been killed in the past 5 years, but the US citizen wants to withdraw because of the 3,000 US soldiers that died. Look at the news, it never even mentions how many Iraqis have died, nor uses it as an excuse to withdraw from Iraq.
They don't care about our people, they hate our people (in worse ways than you claim Muslims hate Jews and Baha'is). If they thought they could bomb us and get away with it, even the average American woman would vote for such a war. But Iran has made sure in multiple levels that an attack on Iran would be too costly for the US to even dare even surgical strikes.
Would you not think that a surgical strike would have been perfect for Israel or the US? How come they haven't done that? Because they know the cost is too high, that Iran would retaliate in such a manner that they will never forgive themselves for the mess they would cause.
It is actually the same mentality in post-Sept-11 neo-conservatives, who thought that if we were harsh to the Afghans and Iraqis, the terrorists would not dare attack us again. The difference is, it is actually working when Iran uses this method.
Faramarz, where do you get your GDP data? The GDP per capita data for 2006, based on CIA figures, was set at $8,700 per capita, not $2,000 (you used the manupilated figure, which did not take into account purchasing power. You don't throw dollar numbers around when people within Iran don't buy with dollars, unless you adjust it to purchasing power).
Now, the accomplishments of the Islamic Republic domestically are as follows (only to name a FEW):
1) They reduced mortality rates from 104,000 a year, to only 25,000 a year. Life expectancy rose from 55 years to 68 years.
2) Literacy rates rose from 48% to 89%. Women's literacy rose from 21% to 78%.
3) Average living standards have risen (especially for rural and poorer classes) (According to “Economy of Iran” by Parvin Alizadeh, who is against the Islamic Republic).
4) Schools and infrastructure built in rural areas (thereby increasing literacy rates)
5) Educational and employment opportunities have improved for females (I am NOT claiming that women have it perfect now in Iran, they don't have it perfect anywhere. It is a struggle they must continue fighting to achieve equitable rights, to which I support. Even women in America still claim they have a glass ceiling they are struggling against).
Iran's GDP did fall substantially during the 1980's, especially during the Iran-Iraq war (to which you fled rather than help Iran fight against the tyrant Saddam). However, if you look at the post 1991 graph of Iran's economy, you will realize that Iran's GDP per capita reached the 1978 period rather quickly and surpassed the GDP of the time of the Shah by the year 1998, to which it is substantially increasing by 6 – 9% a year. The overall GDP is rising by 5 – 8% a year.
ALL OF THIS DESPITE SANCTIONS AND PRESSURE FROM THE UNITED STATES TO DIVEST FROM IRAN.
Iran is now the only car exporter to CHINA, exporting cars to the whole middle east, Africa, and Asian countries.
Iran is now the #1 exporter to Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and many other countries. You might think these are poor countries, but exports to Iraq alone account for $12 BILLION dollars in revenue a YEAR.
The US couldn't even get such export rates to Iraq after the invasion.
While the US built 2 highways in Afghanistan after the war, Iran has built 580 highways in Afghanistan to facilitate trade (mostly export to Afghanistan)
While the US was confused what to do in the post-Saddam and post-Taliban era, Iran quickly filled the power vacuum with puppets of the Iranian government and people.
If this was the Shah's time, the Shah would have probably acted like the King of Saudi, bowing to American demands that it not interfere in Iraq. However, Iran has no masters, and has successfully maneuvered itself in full position in Iraq and Afghanistan, and given a headache to the US occupation there.
So much so, that Noam Chomsky says that only Iran, Syria and Venezuela are the ONLY countries left in the world standing up to US hegemony and imperialism.
The very fact that a country like Iran has been able to successfully stand up to the US, deal with imposed wars and sanctions, and yet STILL HAVE A POSITIVE GDP GROWTH, is just amazing.
Iraqs economy became shambles after the Iran-Iraq war, even though Iraq was getting billions in GRANTS from Arab states as well as the United States. Iran who got nothing, and had the world against her, came out with a full fledged economy. I'm not claiming this economy is the best (it is far from the best, it is corrupt and contradictory) but yet it is positive and growing unlike Iraq's economy that went to the drains in bankruptcy.
That is my 2 toman.