I was talking to a friend of mine who has recently returned to Iran and before his departure I pressed him to send me fresh updates from inside of Iran mostly on attitude of people towards a foreign military strike, economy and people's demand for more social and democratic freedoms. I can't say I was pleased to hear what he told me and it basically surprised me. He has talked to friends, relatives and ordinary people he has met so far and this is the summary of my recent conversation.
First of all, he mentioned that the first thing people complain about is the astronomical rate of inflation. That every one is unhappy about the terrible status of an oil rich country. The price of basic necessities sky-rocketed and less and less people can afford to meet their daily needs. And the question people keep asking is "where does oil money go?". The ordinary people appear to be very angry at the level of corruption within the government.
The other thing I asked him about was the attitude of people he has met over the possibility of any US or Israeli air strike against the regime's nuclear plants. The answer he got so far was the military strike is not going to happen. Unfortunately, it seems the Iranian regime's effort to brainwash the masses has been really successful since almost every body has told my friend that US or Israelis are too weak to attack Iran or the Islamic regime is too strong for the weakened Americans to handle. This could stem from what AEI's Michael Rubin has constantly warned us about: Iran's over confidence. The regime has basically taken advantage of people's naivety and has made them believe that Iran, a country of corruption and repression, is superior and no one can touch it. The slightly positive part of what I heard though, was the deeply negative attitude of people about the current president of Iran. There my friend could not find any one to say a positive thing about him. Although the president in Iranian regime is a powerless figure, the ordinary people are angry at how the government has ruined the country.
The other weird thing he mentioned was how disorderly and wild the society has become since he left Iran 5-6 years ago. That most people can get agitated quick and tend to be vicious or aggressive. The signs of sadness and depression can be seen every where, my friend observed, and the illicit drug use is on the rise. And those using drugs seem not to be embarrassed about it any more. And as for democratic demands, well, he says people are stuck with the day to day demands of their lives that democracy doesn't mean much to them any more. Not that they don't want it but it is not their first priority, and with economy in shambles, the ability to provide for their families is the most important task for the Iranians these days. One told my friend that hungry people are unable to care for democracy. ((Little he might have known that freedom and democracy can bring about a better economy)). [+]
These are signs of a broken, repressed and failed religious society. I'll keep talking to my friend back home and will keep you posted. In the mean time you can also ask him any questions you might have. Just leave your questions in the comment section and I'll redirect those to him and get you the answers. Please stay tuned for more updates from inside of Iran.
Updated: This entry is now Featured on Reuters news agency