Jan. 12, 2018
The call to protest came through a group channel on the smartphone app Telegram. Most of the group’s thousand members had lost their savings when a financial firm promising huge returns went bankrupt amid bad investments and corruption.
Millions of Iranians have been hit by losses at loosely regulated credit institutions. The business of financial firms boomed under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the mid-2000s.
Iranians, whose purchasing power was diminishing from inflation and the devaluation of the currency, flocked to them. The firms appeared to have the backing of the country’s central bank.
Iranian analysts and economists say the firms were doomed to fail. They were owned and managed not by financial experts but by people with close links to religious institutions, the judiciary and the Revolutionary Guards.
The most probable scenario for Iran under any likely regime is a sickening spiral into poverty and depopulation.
Iran has the fastest-aging population of any country in the world.
It has the highest rate of venereal disease infection and the highest rate of infertility of any country in the world.
It has a youth unemployment rate of 35% and it has run out of water.
The government is nearly bankrupt. It has allowed several major banks to fail, wiping out the savings of millions of depositors. The cost of cleaning up the bank mess is estimated at half of GDP.
Iran’s pension funds are bankrupt. The civil service pension fund has only 100 employees paying in for every 120 employees receiving a pension.
Iran has two of the best engineering universities in the world, except virtually all the top graduates leave the country.