The Forum for Partners in Iran's Marketplace

March 2021, No. 96


Flexibility, Speed and Firmness in Decision Making

Lack of cooperation between the previous Parliament and the government also caused the peoples problems to double.

Dr. Mehdi Karbasian

At a time when people are witnessing some fruitless conflicts between the decision-making structures of the country, including the government and the Parliament, there are some key facts about the economic prospects of the country that must be considered to overcome the challenges ahead.

The first fact is that we must accept that one of the most severe sanctions regime experienced in the history of mankind has been imposed against our country. The sanctions, which have been in place since 1397 (2018/2019), have taken on a new and stricter form, and it is not expected that they would be lifted altogether in the short term.

Even the Europeans, who in their words adhered to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), took a passive stance in practice, implementing US sanctions step by step. That is, the countrys banking system was under sanctions, the process of selling oil was stopped, and there were many problems with supply of consumer goods, foreign currency exchange and the purchase of raw materials.

So nothing special is going to happen in the coming months between the end of the 12th government in Iran and the inauguration of the new US administration. It is obvious that with the coming to power of the Democrats and the statements that Joe Biden has made, some tensions will be reduced, but this does not mean that all the economic and livelihood problems of the country will be solved and extraordinary things will happen. Therefore, the path of solving the problems and challenges of the country passes through the heart of the decision-making and planning system.

The problem that is currently observed in the political and economic environment of the country that is not new is the lack of empathy and synergy among the high-ranking officials of the country. As someone with experience in macroeconomic management in the 1960s, I believe that these empathies are the key to solving macroeconomic problems and should be taken into account despite differences of opinion.

In any case, the issue of peoples livelihood, the issue of peoples trust, the issue of increasing social capital and increasing peoples interest in the country and officials, etc., are issues that are damaged by the increase of factional and political behaviors. It is natural that at the present time, some of the decisions taken by the government after 1397 and after the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA, and some hasty and unprofessional approaches, caused some tensions in the economy.

Lack of cooperation between the previous Parliament and the government also caused the peoples problems to double. Although sanctions have had many effects on this problematic process, we must acknowledge that lack of empathy and coordination among the countrys decision-making bodies has played a major role in escalating the crisis. Fortunately, a strategic and key decision was made in the last two years, in which the leadership gave the three powers the authority to resolve crises quickly for a certain period of time.

We must accept that the passivity of the government is not the solution to the peoples livelihood problems.

I remember a time when Imam Khomeini made a similar decision in the 1360s and in the midst of the Iraqi war, so that the leaders of the powers, with weekly meetings, quickly and decisively managed the great crises during the war. At that time, I was the deputy minister of roads and transportation, and I remember that we handed over very important decisions to Mr. (Mir Hossein) Mousavi, the then prime minister. Mr. Mousavi took these decisions to the meeting of heads of the powers as quickly as possible (it never took more than a week for the necessary decisions to be made). The heads of the powers at that time were Ayatollah Khamenei, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili and Mr. Mousavi.

At present, however, we do not see such flexibility, speed and determination. The weekly meetings of the heads of the powers are sometimes delayed for a long time or are caught in the hands of expert and factional discussions. In this situation, the Eleventh Majlis makes decisions and the deputies make speeches, some of which seem to lack the necessary maturity.

On the other hand, we must accept that the passivity of the government is not the solution to the peoples livelihood problems. According to an official report by the minister of cooperatives, labor and social welfare, it was announced that 60 million people could receive livelihood subsidies. After this statement, Mr. President talks about 10 million people or 20 million people to receive the aid. Couldnt the government make the necessary decision in the nine months since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic so that the Parliament would not have to make unprofessional and unsupported decisions?

In my opinion, in order to overcome the current economic and livelihood crisis, we need more empathy and an increase in social capital so that people have enough confidence in the decisions of the authorities to have an active and constructive participation in solving problems. If these things are realized, the Iranian generations can visualize a clear perspective of development in the country and enter the field of economic, social, political, etc. partnerships to realize this perspective.


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  March 2021
No. 96