Iran Development Policy
The Iranian economy is still centralized in many areas and is largely under state control. Many Iranian companies have political as well as economic goals to meet. Regular state interventions through price regulations, subsidies or political guidelines, which usually also have political causes, have so far only allowed an independent private sector to develop to a limited extent.
The problem is exacerbated by widespread corruption. According to pharmacylib, transparency International ranks Iran 146th out of 198 countries in its 2019 corruption index. There is an established private sector mainly in the bazaar, in agriculture and in the service industry. Only in the last decade and a half have increased efforts to privatize other parts of the economy, especially through the Iranian Privatization Organization, founded in 2001.
Development and development policy
In 2013, 8% of the Iranian population was considered poor, and the trend is rising (however, there are no more recent reliable figures). One in eight Iranians is officially unemployed. Young academics in particular are finding it increasingly difficult to find suitable positions on the labor market. In addition, more and more Iranians can no longer live on their income and are thus forced to take a second or even third job. In the rural areas, which are generally far less developed than the cities, broad strata are also affected by poverty, which leads to increased rural exodus on the one hand and an increase in a stratum of largely unskilled job seekers in the cities on the other.
Former President Ahmadinejad’s inaugural promise to be the “advocate of the common people” did not do much here. He was also unable to implement his plan to distribute the income from the oil business to the common people. The gap between rich and poor is growing in Iran too. A related problem is the increasing number of drug addicts, especially young men. Around 2.8% of the population are now dependent on opiates, which, like many other drugs, are comparatively cheap and easily available due to the relative proximity to the growing areas in Afghanistan.
The fight against poverty is mainly carried out under religious auspices; In theory, the major religious foundations have their main area of responsibility here. In addition, caring for the poor is the responsibility of society; giving alms is one of the pillars of Islam. The blue donation containers, set up by the state to collect the sadeqe, the alms, can be found in every street.
One approach to counteracting poverty in rural areas is education. For example, the state sends students there who have to teach in villages in remote regions as a compulsory part of their studies. However, many other government efforts to combat poverty are hampered by the fact that the Iranian state itself is regularly in financial difficulties due to the drop in the price of oil.
Foreign development efforts in Iran
The concept of development aid is very negative in the Islamic Republic. The idea of needing help with one’s own development, that is, of being a bit “underdeveloped” so far, is difficult to convey far beyond the political system of the Islamic republic; it is incompatible with the self-image of most Iranians to be part of the oldest cultural nation on earth. On the political side, European development aid efforts in particular are often given a reference to the activities of the British and Russians in Iran in the 19th century (which in fact disrupted the state) and are therefore rejected. In addition, many European development aid organizations have a Christian background, which makes activities in the Islamic Republic even more difficult.comparatively small extent. In recent years, however, GIZ has occasionally been active in Iran again, the focus of its work is then on developing the Iranian economy, and there is also some private sector involvement. In addition, there have recently been a number of German initiatives in the field of climate protection as well as vocational training and further education.
A special exception to the reserved Iranian stance was the city of Bam, which was largely destroyed in an earthquake in 2003. Due to the large amount of destruction and the high number of victims, international aid was inevitable for the Islamic Republic. For example, the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund and ADRA were able to provide help with the reconstruction of hospitals and schools. There are also some NGOs run by Iranian exiles.
After all, Iran is now working with some international organizations in order to achieve at least basic goals, such as the United Nations and its “Sustainable Development Goals” or the World Bank. In recent years there has been increased cooperation between Iranian authorities and the relevant UN programs, particularly in the fight against desertification of arable land. The problem of international development cooperation with Iran, however, remains the fact that the Iranian state is fundamentally opposed to it and repeatedly uses it for domestic and foreign policy goals.