Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Leader Advances an Implementation Decree

Hamid Ahadi, Rooz Online:
Ayatollah Khamenei, the leader of the Islamic Republic responded positively just one day after the decree that was issued in response to the proposal of the State Expediency Council for reducing the size of the government and selling government stocks and shares in its commercial enterprises. The request was that a percent of the ownership of state enterprises mentioned in article 44 of the constitution, be sold to provincial investment enterprises comprising of cooperatives and the poor.

This measure is a direct involvement of the leader in executive matters which came about as he specified the details on how the shares and stocks transfer should take place. In his decree, the leader specifies that 50 percent of the shares of qualified enterprises be granted to provincial organizations that contain provincial cooperatives. It then lists other implementation details such as how the value of the shares is to be determined (through the stock exchange), concessions to villages with a lower revenues, the activities of provincial investment companies, the distribution of the stocks of the companies, etc.

While viewing this particular intervention as a positive development, especially in view of Ahmadinejad’s political and economic blunders, economic experts also express their concerns that this is a violation of a democratic principle which calls for a reduction of the role and power of appointed as opposed to elected officials. This event is also not a welcome sign for the liberalization of the economy. Economic freedom and liberalization, they argue, comes only with political liberalization and supervision.

With China as the only exception, some Iranian authorities seem to be following that model where political freedoms have not come in step with economic freedoms and expansions. But even in that model, economic reforms came about only after China opened up to the West and altered its confrontation with it. READ MORE

Some political observers had predicted that with Ahmadinejad in the presidency which put the whole government apparatus into the hands of a single political faction, the groundwork would be ripe for the leader of the Islamic regime to run the country the way he wished. But events of the year have proved that this uniformity and the even the strengthening of the appointed institutions have not made things any easier.

The clash between the authorities and the clerics, the support of the powerful military groups of the president, and the elimination of experienced hands which led to immature decisions, have all led to a situation where after 27 years of the Islamic Republic, the second leader of the republic now has the ability to intervene in executive affairs and implement his wishes through the various advisory and other bodies.