The Current Economic,

Political and Social

Developments in Iran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shahindokht Kharazmi

 

November 1999

 

 

 


 

The Current Economic, Political and Social Developments in Iran *

 

By Shahindokht Kharazmi

 

 

     Iran is a land full of wonder and astonishment and it is entering the next century and millennium with this same attribute. During its turbulent history and in the uneven course of three thousand years of evolution of its civilization, Iran has always been  the center of turmoil and at the same time, innovation and change. And of course, this same innovation and change has been the factor of survival of Iranian civilization and culture against external and internal invaders who wanted to  destroy it. If we were to describe Iran with only one attribute, it is resilience - the same thing that is considered the mechanism of survival and development in  the tumultuous, crisis-prone, complicated, competitive and changing environments of today and makes the individual, organization and the society to stand firm in the face of uprooting pressures.

 

     The developments of the Iran’s contemporary history begins with the constitutional revolution which is  a national movement to shape the  socio- political system of Iran and  wishes to liberate the society from the clutches of the governing regime’s totalitarianism, dictatorship and despotism. This revolution took place in 1906. Then, with the movement for the nationalization of oil industry, Iran showed that it does not accept the foreign domination over its resources. And these two historical events are the beginning of the  difficult and painful process of democratization and the  participation of the people of Iran in their own political, social and economic life. And of course, the Islamic revolution of 1979 was in a sense, also an explosion of public participation to change the political  system. And now after two decades since that revolution, the  Iranian society has entered into a new stage of its development.

 

     To analyze the recent developments in Iran, it would be better to have a look at  the global context of these developments using a systemic approach, since the factor causing these developments are two groups of forces, that call for attention. The first group are forces which come from the society’s development process and have originated from inside it. The second group are forces which have their origin in the development of world civilization and recent global changes.. It is the  combination of these two forces which is shaping the developments of the Iranian society  today. To cross out one in favor of the other will face the explanation of these developments with a  major flaw. It is on the basis of this argument that we will have a brief look at the most important trends of global developments.

 

     If we consider the global system composed of communities which dwell on the planet earth,  with a look at the evolution of this system over the last two millenniums  we would note that at the end of the second millennium and at the dawn of the third, the global system has entered in a complicated civilizational turning point in which although the developed countries play the leading role, nevertheless its impact and outcomes have crossed  the increasing penetrable borders of even the closest of societies, affecting the social  life of all peoples. The moving force of this transition, is the pace of scientific - technological developments, the impacts of which have gone far beyond the  physical foundations and technical  sphere, embracing all domains of man’s life, calling for a total conceptual deconstruction.

 

     Of course, it must be acknowledged that modern phenomena are so complicated and interwoven that it is impossible to single out a factor from among  an interacting combination of  innumerable factors and call it the cause of developments which have led to many vast and profound effects. But, with a look at the rapid scientific - technological  progress since the second  half of the 20th century, we would note that achievements made in the fields of genetics, biological sciences, space sciences, information sciences and telecommunications, have each put in motion a chain of developments which in combination with each other have created an enormous force. If we only consider the advances made in information and communications, we will see that the achievements of these two developments have offered new patterns for work, leisure, creation of  wealth, making war, thinking, scientific - technical  creativity, social relations, trade, entertainment and so on. On the whole, they have changed the ontological situation of mankind and his relationship with the existence.

 

     The digital revolution which is the natural result of these developments has led to the dissemination and acceleration of two important trends each having its own profound positive and negative  effects on  individual as well as social life. These two trends, namely virtualization and globalization, have crossed  national borders and have affected all societies including Iran - of course unwillingly. Many activities  which were previously done within national domains with known rules of the game, have now been transferred to the global networks which follow their own particular  rules of the game and traditional societies in order to be able to play an active role in these domains for their national interests have to accept these rules and learn them and this makes their behavior and   thinking patterns to change.

 

     If we look at the issue from another angle, we would note that a kind of predestination governs over scientific and technological phenomena which can not be resisted. Today, the creation of wealth and  cultural, social and political development are not possible without the use of advanced knowledge and technology. In fact, the conditions are  such that no country could meet the needs of its society and manage its affairs without making use of the latest scientific and technical achievements. And   this same coercion has drawn the societies to global and virtual  arenas. Indeed, virtualization and globalization are the predestinations of survival and development in today’s world, with many opportunities and threats of course.

 

     Had Iran not encountered such pressures from the global environment - particularly in the last  decade, perhaps its internal profound and real process of development would have not started in such manner. A general review of developments over the last three decades would lead us to the conclusion that Iran has had three different responses in the face of global developments:

 

·                   In the 1970s, particularly after the oil shocks of that decade and access to large revenues due to oil exports, it began a rapid modernization with emphasis on economic and technical modernism.

·                   Late in the 1970s and with Islamic revolution, the process of de-modernization began as a strong reaction against modernism which tried, by negating the western model of development and removing the behavioral  manifestations of it, to establish a situation  which stressed more on “Islamization”, and in fact, economy was set aside in favor of culture.

          ·          Late in the 1980s, under the influence of various domestic and external pressures including increasing population growth, falling oil prices and contact with the developed world, re-modernization is resumed. In this period, Iran attempts again to rapidly  absorb the manifestations of modern  life in economic and technical areas, putting emphasis on “reconstruction”. However, this modernism is greatly different from  modernism of  the 1970s and its national and global obligations are something else. It is under the pressure of these same obligations that today, as we shall  see in this paper, there are evidences which show that Iran is set in the course of its profound and sustainable development, a course which perhaps unlike the first period of modernism, would no be reversible.

 

     We would follow the discussion with a more precise look at the  developments in the three areas of economics, politics and culture. In this part of the discussion, avoiding  to present a historical analysis in order to keep it short, the latest situation in Iran  will be portrayed based on  available statistics and information. The overall assumption of this paper is that from both the global or national points of view, the important area of social developments in Iran is the economic area, and in fact, forces of this domain have made other domains to change.

 

    Indeed, it is the economic obligations and economic forces which move and direct societies such as Iran toward the sort of social, political and cultural developments that prepare the ground for economic progress. It is on the basis of such an assumption that we begin the discussion of developments in Iran with the economic developments.

 

The  Iranian Economy:

 

     Experts say that during the 1961-1977 period, Iran has been transformed from a developing country with a per capita income of 180,000 Rials (at 1989 prices) and 45 percent rural population into a semi-industrialized country with 62 percent urban population and a per capita income of about 270,000 Rials (at 1982 prices).

 

     As shown in table 1, during the past three decades (1976-1997), gross domestic product (GDP) in Iran has had an average annual growth rate of 4.2 percent, which given the average annual population rate that has been 2.8 percent, the gross domestic product has had a growth rate of only 1.4 percent which is an undesirable situation.

 

Table 1- Changes in GDP and the share of key economic sectors  over the 1967- 1996 period

 

               (billion Rials at 1982 prices)

 

 

1967

 

1986

Ave. Annual

Growth

GDP

4799.9

16188.3

4.2

Services

27.2

39

5.5

Industries and mines

10.4

21.5

6.9

Agriculture

20

23.5

4.8

Oil

42.3

15.8

0.7

Source: The central Bank, the Annual Economic Reports

 

     During the above period, the share of  oil in the GDP has declined which of course has been due to the  fall in oil  export  revenues, and not due to higher growth of other sectors. But in any way, it indicates that the dependence of Iranian economy on oil is declining, which together with the rising share of  gas, water, and electricity as well as increased share of services, industry and mines sectors in the GDP, are clear indications of structural change in Iranian economy. Economic analyses show that over the last three decades, Iranian economy has been suffering from the following ills:

 

          ·     Lack of stability of macro economic indicators due to dependence on oil revenues: Over the 1970 - 1996 period, economic growth rate in Iran has fluctuated between  the minimum -16 to the maximum +16 percent, whereas for Indonesia this figure has been between - 0.3 and 9 percent, in Malaysia 4.4 to 13.3 percent and in the countries of the world as a whole, it has been between 0.3 to 6.1 percent.

          ·     High tendency toward private consumption: Over dependence on oil revenues has limited the tendency toward investment and capital accumulation. Lack of needed economic security for saving and investment, lack of full development of capital markets, inflation rate overtaking the banking interest rates have been among the factors giving rise to this situation.

          ·     Low proportion of investment relative to GDP: During the years 1959 to 1996, this proportion has been less than 20 percent - of course, except for the 1975 -1977 and 1986-1987 periods. Inflation, oil shocks, differences in the rates of free versus official exchange rates, and lack of private sector confidence which stems from unstable economic policies and ambiguities regarding  ownership rights as well as unfair competition by government-owned interprises and institutions as well as  foundations are among the effective factors which are responsible for the low rate of investment in Iran.

 

     With a look  at the latest situation of Iranian economy in 1997, the following features could be enumerated:

 

          ·     Chronic inflation (18 percent in 1997),

          ·     rising unemployment,

          ·     reduction in the growth rate of gross domestic product (5 percent in 1996, compared to 3.5 percent as estimated for 1997),

          ·     deepening of the economic recession which has begun since 1996,

          ·     unsuitable distribution of revenues

          ·     falling oil revenues

          ·     Insignificant  share of world trade (0.35 to 0.4 percent from a total of 10 thousand billion dollars worth of merchandise trade in the world including exports and imports; if oil is omitted from it, it would amount to 0.06 percent)

 

     Macro economic analysts consider the following factors responsible for the confused situation of the Iranian economy:

 

          ·     War,

          ·     inefficiency of the administrative apparatus,

          ·     inefficient banking and insurance systems,

          ·     weakness of taxation system in financing the government expenditures and creation of needed equilibrium in the distribution of incomes,

          ·     lack of necessary flexibility in labor as well as capital markets,

          ·     unsuitable foreign exchange system and rise of parallel exchange market with numerous exchange rates,

          ·     uneven development of private and public sector economic firms.

 

     And in order to get out of this situation and achieve continued growth and development as well as economic sustainability, they offer the following solutions:

 

          ·     Creating security for the investor,

          ·     searching for new sources of capital formation,

          ·     rapid and continued expansion of non-oil exports,

          ·     using the available productive capacities.

          ·     fixed capital formation by the public, cooperative and private sectors as well as foreign investors,

          ·     removing the abstacles facing  the liberalization of foreign trade,

          ·     creating efficient banking and insurance system.

          ·     leaving the producer free to determine prices according to the law of the market,

          ·     creating flexibility in the commodity and labor markets,

          ·     making use of scientific management in running the affairs.

          ·     improving scientific and technological capabilities

 

     With a more careful look at the list of causes and solutions, it could perhaps be claimed that the real roots of  difficulties in the  Iranian economy are non-economic. Indeed, to be able to provide the wealth and employment required by the Iranian society,  the economy of Iran needs a suitable channel which could prepare  the ground for stable policy - making, security for investment, modernization and development of systems left behind by former generations and active presence in global arenas. The need for preparing this necessary ground is felt more when we focus attention on the significant trends of developments in the Iranian economy. The most important of  these  trends are the following:

 

          ·     Privatization of production activities

          ·     liberalization of trade (accepting the necessity and importance of joining the World Trade Organization),

          ·     abolition of economic rents

          ·     globalization (stressing the export strategy and making efforts to remove the barriers facing it)

          ·     absorbing scientific management in the firms,

          ·     making the production of  goods and services competitive in the firms.

 Some of these trends, including privatization, have longer records and some others, including the last three, have began recently, but it seems that obstacles which block their way will be gradually removed and in a sense, the inevitable destiny of the Iranian economy is to move toward these developments. Of course, these trends are taking  shape mostly under the influence of global forces and borders are becoming more penetrable. Moreover, the  government in recent years has accepted that as long as the problems of Iranian economy are not solved, other goals and programs will not be fulfilled. Somehow the attention of the leadership and state authorities has been drawn toward  solving the structural problems of Iran’s economy and removing its political and cultural obstacles. Of course the  fulfillment of both these objectives are difficult and slow. The most important non-economic barriers of Iran’s economic development  seem to be the following:

 

              ·     Legal obstacles which are mostly due to the incorrect performance of the judiciary. The behavior of the judiciary has been such that it has not created the necessary  security for investment.

              ·     social obstacles including  high population growth rate, illiteracy and youthfulness of the population.

              ·     cultural obstacles, particularly the dominance of traditional seminary thinking (structural jurisprudence) in policy - making, decision making and running of the economic affairs.

              ·     political obstacles including lack of a shared vision regarding the future of Iran among the leaders of the government and also  the weakness of democratic institutions, inability of existing institutions to provide a favorable environment for economic activity at the global standards and  to promote the flourishing of  capabilities and creativity.

 

     Looking at Iran’s development trends in the social, cultural and political spheres, we shall see that these trends are such that it could be claimed that a positive movement toward the fulfillment of a profound and  sustainable development in Iran - although slow and fluctuating - has been launched in these spheres and it is hoped that with the acceleration of these trends, a more favorable ground would be created to resolve the problems of the Iranian economy and also that the  Iranian society could be able to achieve a suitable level of development in other spheres as well. Given the abundant resources that the  Iranian economy has available for its development, the prospects for the future are bright. The most significant of these resources are the following:

 

              ·     Iran’s geo-strategic position and the country’s  being situated in the important region of the middle east and in the  vicinity of  a market with three hundred million people.

              ·     access to two important water ways through one of which is carried the greater part of the world’s fuel and the other involves a vast proportion of global gas and oil reserves.

              ·     existence of abundant  and varied mineral resources including hydro-carbons and other minerals,

              ·     young, intelligent, skilled, educated, trainable and  modernist manpower,

              ·     existence of rich, dynamic, modernist and development - oriented culture,

              ·     a rich heritage of civilization and culture and being heir to a significant share  of the civilization  records of the world.

              ·     favorable and  highly varied climate conditions.

 

Iran’s Social Developments:

 

    In discussing the social developments, the most important changes related to population, urbanization and education are introduced and we shall also have a brief and  passing look at the issue of women.

 

Demographic changes:

 

     Iran has aroused astonishment of the world in the area of controlling the  population growth and reducing its growth  rate. Table 2 shows changes in the population growth rate over the 1976-1996 period.

 

Table 2 - Changes in the annual population growth rate over the 1976 -1996 period.

(%)

Period

Nationwide

Urban

Regions

Rural Regions

Annual  growth rate of urban population

1976-1986

3.91

5.41

2.39

5.4

1986-1991

2.46

3.47

1.21

3.5

1991-1996

1.47

2.95

-0.65

2.9

Source: Iran’s Statistical Yearbooks

 

     Lowering the population growth rate across the  whole country and in urban and rural regions is an important achievement which had not been expected. The improvement in other demographic  indicators is an indication that demographic changes in Iran  are enjoying a positive trend. The most  significant of these indicators is the reduction  of the youth coefficient, and in fact, the reduction of the proportion of young population bellow 15 years of age  and the increased average age of the population which are  clearly shown by table 3.

 

     Table 3 - Changes in the population age over the 1976 - 1996 period.

 

 

Year

Proportion of population below 15 years of age

 

Age average

Potentially active pop. aged 15-64

proportion of the aged over 65

1976

44.52

17.4

51.96

3.59

1986

45.45

17.0

51.46

3.09

1991

44.28

17.6

52.23

3.49

1996

39.51

19.37

56.11

4.38

Source: Iran’s Statistical Yearbooks

 

     The growth of active population indicates that labor supply has improved and this of course would put the economic system of Iran  under pressure to improve the  economic conditions and create jobs. In other words, previously, development plans emphasized provision of basic needs of the country’s children and young people, but from now on, the orientation of these plans should change to meet the need to attract the participation of the  young and creating employment for the work force which enters the labor market.

 

     Regarding the aged, in 1996 , 27 percent of the aged have been working in  one of the economic activities. Experts believe that population aging would not happen in  Iran in the coming two decades. Concerning population the worrying situation is the  phenomenon of emigration. Over the past two decades, hundreds of thousands of competent Iranians with high levels of capabilities, skills and abilities  and of course money, have left the country  and illiterate, barely  literate and unskilled immigrants have entered Iran.


 

 

Urbanization:

 

     Urbanization in Iran has accelerated. The most significant developments in the last 20 years (1976-1996) regarding urbanization in Iran as follows:

 

              ·     Rise in the number of cities from 373 in 1976 to 614 in 1996,

              ·     rise in the number of metropolises (cities with over 1 million population) from 2 to 5.

              ·     increase in the number of urban population by 20 million people.

              ·     79 percent of total population increase has belonged to urban population centers.

              ·     urban population growth rate (4.3 percent) in this period took precedence over rural population  growth rate (1.33 percent).

 

     The important point is that the growth of urbanization in Iran should not be taken as an index of development, because it has not been the result of economic development and dynamism, rather, the rural population’s lack of access to sufficient income and suitable job opportunities, have sent them to the cities.

 

Education:

 

     Literacy rate has been on the rise over the 20- year  period of 1976 - 1996.

 

    Table (4) - Literacy rate during the 1976 - 1996 period

                       (%)

Year

Literacy Rate

1976

47.60

1977

61.75

1996

79.50

Source: Iran’s Statistical Yearbooks

 

     Literacy rate in the  country’s active population (aged 15 to 39) has reached 92.9 percent. Over the period  1976 to 1996, rural people more  than city-dwellers and women more than men have enjoyed literacy and training facilities. The number of pupils with a growth rate of 3.7 percent has reached from 13.7 million in 1989-1990 to  18.4 million pupils in 1996-1997. In higher education, the number of students has had a 4.5 percent growth rate in the 1989 -1997 period and the number of students has  reached from 431087 students in 1989 to 1,275,630 students in 1997. In the year 1989, 34.6 percent of the students were studying in non-government institutions, this figure has amounted to 53.6 percent in 1997. During the period between 1989 to 1997, the non-government institutions of higher education have grown on the average by 32.3 percent annually (against 5.9 percent growth of government   institutions) and  in the year 1997, of total  number of faculty members, 11.9 percent, and of  total physical spaces, 65.4 percent were belonged to non-government institutions. In 1989, 44307 people have  graduated from the country’s universities. This figure has  increased to 126,813  graduates in 1997.

 

     About the educational system of Iran the following comments could be made:

 

              ·     In the past 20 years both in elementary and secondary education as well as in higher education, the figures represent quantitative growth and the country’s active and  young population have had access to educational facilities.

              ·     But considering the accelerative pace of global developments, rising speed of obsolescence and renewal of technology, skills and know-how as well as rapid  changes in the labor market, the  educational system has  not kept pace with the times and can not meet the challenge of these developments; it needs structural change, rethinking  and re-engineering of educational management, meaning:

 

              ·     Changing the educational strategies and philosophies,

              ·     renovation of educational methods and making use of the  latest achievements of educational technology; changing the contents of text books and educational programs,

              ·     abandoning the emphasis on memorizations and replace it  with emphasis on meta skills needed by  today’s society (the learning of learning, creative adjustment,  creative assimilation, innovation, creativity  etc.),

              ·     making use of the outcomes of communications and digital revolutions to improve the effectiveness of educational activities.

 

women

 

     Developments related to women, due to their extent and significance calls for an independent analysis. Here, only some of the indices related to this subject are mentioned. Table  5 shows the social changes related to women.

 

 

Table 5 - Women’s social developments over the 1966-1996 period

 

(million people)

 


 

Year

Total women pop.

 

Active

 

Employed

Un-

employed

Economically

Inactive

Literated Aged

over 6

Illiterate

 Aged

over 6

1966

12.4

1

0.94

0.09

7.2

1.7

7.7

1976

16.4

1.5

1.2

0.24

10

4.7

8.5

1986

24

1.3

0.97

0.33

15

10

9.0

1991

27

1.6

1.2

0.40

17

15

7.3

1996

29.5

2

1.8

0.27

20

19

6.6

Source: Iran’s Statistical Yearbooks

 

     During the last three decades, women have enjoyed a high level of literacy so that in 1996, 19 million women aged over six years have been literate. But a large section of them are as yet economically inactive (20 million women out of a total of 28.8 million people of  economically inactive population in the country).Of course, the social status of women has improved compared to the 1980s and an organization called “the Women Participation Office” headed by a Presidential adviser has been established to improve the situation of women. This office has a representative in government ministries and organizations who as ministerial advisor in women’s affairs pursues the mandate of the office, and tries to improve the situation of employed women by removing existing discriminations in payments and privileges and creation of equal opportunities.

 

     In general, women’s share of managerial jobs is very low and despite the rise in the number of women with higher education in recent years, the situation in this respect is not as yet a suitable one. For example, in  the ministry of education in which women have  a better situation, women  in educational management has increased from 36.1 percent in 1989 to 45 percent in 1997. The interesting point is that in 1989-1990 only 3.7 percent of men serving as manager in the education sector have had a B.A. or B.S. or higher degrees. This figure  has amounted to 27.8 in 1997. This is while there have  been many educated women with managerial competence which could  have replaced uneducated male managers . Moreover, the lack of access of women to opportunities which are made available for the training of senior executive managers, has blocked their promotion to managerial positions. In higher courses of management training which are held in the Industrial  Management Institute, whether post-graduate courses or specialized courses with no degree, women’s share is quite insignificant and in some courses, it is zero. In the Government Management Training Center, the situation is even worse than this.

 

      Of course, as shown in table No.7 during the 5 year period of 1991-1996  the employment of women has improved and the highest growth rate of  employment of women has been in managerial jobs. But despite this growth, the situation is not desirable yet.

 

     Regarding social developments  in Iran, it could be concluded that social indices are improving, although at a slow pace, and this improvement is underway at a higher pace in the most  important index which is the population growth and following that,

the youth rate. These two-indices are very important for development.

 

Political Developments:

     The most important political development which is observable in Iran, is the movement toward democratization of the political system. If the most important feature of democracy be taken to be involving people in the determination of their own destiny, a look at recent developments in Iran show that this process has begun. During the seventh presidential elections (in which Mr. Khatami was elected as President) public participation


 

 

Table 6 - The employment situation of men and women in the years 1991 and 1996

 (per thousand)

Main Occupational Groups

1991

1996

Growth

(%)

 

men

women

men

women

men

women

staff of scientific - technical and specialized jobs

1041

523.6

1154

566

1.79

8.2

high - ranking administrative  staff and top-managers

70

1.5

283

41

305

260

administrative staff

627

86

510

104

18.7

21

staff of service and  trade affairs and salesmen

1750

42

1875

101

7

138.7

farmer, stock breeders, fishermen and hunters

3070

160

3084

301

0.5

88

workers of manufacturing jobs and transport affairs

4212

309

4751

587

7.48

89.9

staff of non-classified jobs

967

15

1149

64

18.7

329

total

11865

1231

12806

1765

7.9

43.4

total of men and women

13097

14572

 

 

Source: Iran’s Statistical  Yearbooks

 

reached  the zenith. That election and the elections for Local Councils are the manifestation of the exalted  political behavior of the Iranian people and show that the people of Iran  despite not having a chance to practice democracy, are highly ready for democratic  behavior and given a favorable environment are  well able to act in the  framework of democratic rules. Mr. Khatami’s emphasis on political development and on the realization of civil society, raising differing  discussion for and against freedom and  its relationship with religion, the attitude of Islam toward freedom and individual rights,religion pluralism, and discussion of this sort have both changed the Iranian political climate and are also themselves signs of  political change. This of course has paved the way for the attraction of further participation by different groups. The most significant of political developments of last few years could be enumerated as follows:

 

              ·     A convergence of the views of government leaders - of course, not to complete degree - concerning issues such as definition of desirable future prospect for Iran given the  economic obligations, strategic priorities, relations with outside world (acceptance of foreign  investment), the importance of political development (acceptance of political parties), need for change  in the judicial system and the like. Of course, it is necessary to mention that since the election of Mr. Khatami, the state has  acted in the role of the  opposition of the ruling system .And  as yet the most important media - radio and television - are not in the hands of the state.

              ·     Forming of parties and political formations and their becoming active in the political sense. Currently over ten official parties and  formations are officially active, the names of some of them are as follows: Association of Militant Clerics and League of  Militant Clergies, Coalition of Islamic Groups Society, Islamic  Revolution Mojahedin  Organization, Executives of Construction Party,  National Partnership Front. Of course, the non - insider groups are still not allowed to form parties.

              ·     Growth of non-government organizations (NGOs) and their more active presence in the country’s social and political arenas. The latest statistics of these organizations show that in the fall of 1999, there have been 13 non-government organizations active in the field of  environment, 31 organizations in the area of women and tens of youth organizations have had an official and active presence on the scene (appendix No.1) The number of professional and specialized associations is also on the rise, only the network of Iranian Consultants includes 8 important professional associations which are the following:

                        ·     Association of Management Consultants of Iran.

                        ·     Association for Development and Quality Improvement of Iranian Industies.

                        ·     Sustainable Development Quality Center.

                        ·     Iranian Association of Consulting Engineers.

                        ·     Iranian  Association of Informatic Companies.

 

Numerous other professional and specialized associations have also been created which have an active presence in various field.

 

·     Formation of City and Village Councils which started their activity throughout Iran since 1998 following a democratic election.

·     Further democratization of the election process which is a response to people’s increasing political growth and their demand for holding free election. This has been reflected by the 23 may 1997 elections which not only attracted the highest public participation among 6 round of Presidential elections, but has also enjoyed the highest rate of public participation in election within the last 20 years. As was mentioned before, the political  behavior of people in the seventh Presidential elections and also in the councils’ elections illustrate how much the Iranian people are ready for democracy.

 

Table No.7  also shows the political growth of people in another way. People have participated more in those elections which they knew their participation in them  would be effective in the  determination of their country’s political destiny. And they have had a lower presence in those  elections which they thought their presence in them would not be very determining. The democratic nature of the  two institutions of Parliament and Presidency is the factor which attracts people to participate actively in the elections of these two institutions. Among the  country’s provinces, the average of public participation in 16 elections held in the last two decades, the central province has had the highest rate,  while Sistan and Baluchestan (47 percent) and Kurdestan (54.2) have had the lowest rate (Appendix 2 and 3). The later two province are both located in border areas having the highest rate of deprivation, their populations are comprised of two Sunni ethnic minorities (Baluch and Kurd). These  statistics show that the Islamic republic has not been able to attract their full participation.

 

Table 7- Statistics of Public participation in the elections held in the 1979-1998 period

 

No

Elections

Date Held

Eligible

Num. of voters

%

1

Referendum to change the regime

30 and

31/3/1979

20,857,391

20,439,908

98.00

2

Experts Assembly for final review of the  constitution

3/7/1979

20,857,391

10,723,788

51.41

3

Referendum to confirm the constitution

293/11/1979

20,857,391

15,690,142

75.23

4

First Presidency

25/1/1980

20,857,391

14,152,907

67.86

5

First term of the Majlis

15/3/1980

20,857,391

108,871,645

52.12

6

Second Presidency

24/7/1980

22,439,930

14,532,869

64.76

7

Third Presidency

2/2/1981

22,439,930

16,737,381

74.59

8

First term of Experts  Assembly to choose the leader

10/9/1987

23,277,871

18,140,985

77.93

9

Second term of Isl. Cons. Assembly

15/4/1982

24,154,610

15822070

65.50

10

Fourth Presidency

16/8/85

25,993,802

14238587

54.78

11

Third term of the Majlis

8/4/88

27.986.736

16714281

59.72

12

Fifth Presidency

27/7/88

30,139,598

16452677

56.59

13

Referendum for review of the Constitution

27/7/88

30,139,598

16428976

54.51

14

Second term of Experts Ass. to choose  the leader

5/11/89

31,280,084

11602613

37.09

15

Fourth term of the Majlis

10/4/72

32,465,558

18767042

57.81

16

Sixth Presidency

12/7/93

33,156,055

16796787

50.66

17

Fifth term of the Majlis

9/3/95

34,716,000

24717088

71.20

18

Seventh Presidency

23/5/97

34,909,620

39076070

83.29

19

Third term of Experts Assembly to choose the leader

23/10/1998

38,550,597

17847515

46.30

20

State Islamic Councils

26/2/1998

36,739,982

23668739

64.42

Source: State Elections Head Quarters


 

     Any way, the manifestations of the growth of democracy, on both small and large scales, are quite apparent, but unfortunately, they cannot be expressed in the language of statistics. For example, there have been  some rather small changes  in the behavior of non-democratic political institutions like the Expediency Council and the Guardians Council. These institutions have to some extent become more sensitive toward people and their reaction to  their performance, and in general, to public opinion.

 

·     The ruling system and the government’s increased sensitivity to national and world public opinion. the Islamic Republic of Iran is  trying to change the initial negative image, particularly in the eye of the world public opinion. To this end, it tries to present a positive picture of itself through improving its performance to which the world public opinion is more sensitive. The political and cultural presence of Mr. Khatami has been very effective in this respect.

·     Increasing attention to the fact that economic development is dependent on political development  and that stability as well as  political security and having credibility in the  eye of the international community are the necessary  requisites for attraction of domestic and foreign investments.

·     Pressure to make the unofficial pressure groups and organizations abide by the law in their behavior and control their presence in social and political arenas. In fact, the trend is moving toward  moderation of  the stands taken by these groups and their acquiescence to behave in the framework of law and order. Mr. Khatam’s emphasis on the  law has contributed to this development. Of course these groups still do not have the necessary tolerance and patience  toward opposing  intellectual and reformist tendencies and democratic ideas and values.

·     The encounter of two intellectual currents, one reformist which advocates fundamental  reforms and acceleration of society’s democratization  process, and the other, radical and conservative which considers  these reforms subversive and defers with full force the ideal of preserving the values and traditions. This encounter has always existed during the last 20 years, but in last two or three years this  has taken a new turn. A look at recent developments shows that the radical and conservative faction which is the guardian of tradition, has unwantedly come to acknowledge the importance of democratic values like freedom,  information transparency respecting the rights of the people and the need for public participation in socio-political scenes.

 

Cultural Developments:

 

     In the area of culture, there have been some developments in Iran. We shall first have a look at the quantitative growth of  cultural and artistic products. Table No.8 shows the changes in cultural products in the 1988 - 1997 period.

Tabel 8 - Quantity growth of cultural artistic products during 1988 to 1997

 

 

1988

1995

1997

Ann. Growth 1988-1997

- Books

Number and title

Copies printed (1000 copies)

Title per one million of the population

Per capita copies to literate population

 

3734

24209

134

0.87

 

11831

61007

300

1.54

 

15307

82571

364

1.96

 

15.1

13.0

10.5

8.5

- Motion pictures

  Number of movies produced

  Movie theaters

 

43

260

 

56

294

 

52

295

 

1.9

1.3

- Theater

   Number of plays performed

 

1525

 

1899

 

3385

 

8.3

- Art exhibitions held

  Number of Art galleries

420

7

1913

-

1428

46

13.0

20.7

- Houses of culture(in Tehran)

-

-

60

-

Art schools and colleges

Art Societies

60

103

145

229

166

277

10.7

10.4

Source: “Past performance, present situation, and future prospect of culture and art”, reported by Plan and Budget Organization,  January 1998.

 

    As shown in the table, cultural products have grown in terms of quantity, especially books which calls for a detailed discussion. In 1996, about 3127 book - publishers have been active and we have had 1147 public libraries which is double their number compared to 1988 and 1746 libraries have also  been set up by the Construction Jihad in rural regions.

 

      Of course, the growth of the press in terms of both quantity and quality should not be overlooked, especially  in view of the significant role which they have played in the  area of political development. And it is for this same reason that the section  of the free press which has become known as “the Dovom-e Khodad” (the  23 May) press, has endured a lot of pressures. Over the last two years, at least 5 newspapers and several magazines have been closed for the same reason. But despite these pressures, it could be said that the impact of this  group of the press have had on political and cultural development has been unprecedented. Similarly, the  resistance they have shown in the face of enormous political pressure is a sign of political development .

 Also, 70 private companies and public  institutes are active in the production and  dissemination of musical works and products. In the area of  motion pictures, the success of Iranian  filmmakers in the Asian, European and American film festivals is an indication that the quality of Iran films has improved. However, despite the policies followed for quantitative growth and the quality development of  arts in Iran as well as efforts made in the way of promotion and  flourishing of cultural and  artistic activities in Iran,  the development of this sector is faced with the following obstacles:

          ·     The direct presence of the government in the market for production and sale of cultural products and services. Almost 27 percent of book-publishing and about  two-third of all movie   theatres in the country, management of all cultural and artistic complexes and houses of culture as well as many of the cultural activities are undertaken and run by the government.

          ·     The complicated nature of government’s supervision and control over these activities and inefficiency of the supervising  agencies

          ·     Weakness of the cultural education

          ·     Ambiguity and lack of clarity in the system’s attitude toward the social status of the arts in general ant toward writers and  artists in particular

          ·     Existence of parallel cultural agencies

          ·     Ever-increasing variety of cultural demands and tendency of young people to foreign cultural products.

          ·     Inability in countering the  threats posed by the expansion of telecommunications and making proper use of opportunities which it offers.

          ·     Existence of value barriers for the growth of arts which instead of facilitating artistic creativity, has been the obstacle  blocking the way to full blossoming of these creativities.

 

     But as soon as the atmosphere has become favorable to some extent, creativities have had a remarkable growth , as could be clearly seen.

 

    But the economic development, and more importantly, the cultural development of Iran are dependent on developments which should come about in the most significant element of culture, namely, religion and the most important social institution, namely the “Institution of the Clergy”. This development has  already begun and is progressing and if the situation would continue in this same manner, it will contribute to the fulfillment of development in the country.  Now we shall have a look at some changes related to the clergy. The organizational symbol of the institution of  religion -  of course, the religion of Islam and the Shiite Faith in Iran is the Seminary with an antiquity of 12 centuries. There are several  important Seminaries in Iran, the most important of them being the Qhom Seminary. This Seminary is responsible for the direct and indirect guidance and supervision of the country’s important cultural and political activities and its developments will certainly have a profound  impact on political - cultural processes and consequently, on the country’s economic activities. Some attempts have been  launched to renovate this institution, the most important of which are the following:

 

1- Renovation of organization and establishments:

 

The organization and establishments of the Seminary have formerly had a traditional  texture and in fact, those possessing legitimacy and authority ran the affairs of the Seminary. The  grand ayatollahs undertook the running of the Seminary’s educational and non-educational affairs without having well-defined and codified systems. In 1981, with the recommendation of  Ayatollah Khomeini, a council was formed comprised of several of the  clergies and scholars which  undertook the management of the  affairs of the clergies and the religious students (Tollabs). In 1992, this council was replaced by a codified organizational system aimed at creating quantitative  and qualitative developments in this institution and the manner of managing it. In the new organization chart (appendix no 4) the following points are noted:

- On the top of the Seminary, there is the “Seminary Higher Council” comprising of 7 to 17 Grand  Ayatollahs who in fact play the role of the Board of Trustees. However, the real management of affairs is in the hand of the Executive body comprised of   young clerics. Indeed, according to the new establishments, the executive power has been transferred from the Ayatollahs to the  young clerics who are now trying to run the affairs within the framework of defined rules and  modern systems.

- Specialization of activities and creation of specialized sections  each of which acts within the framework of a defined frame of reference. In fact, the Seminary wants  to modernize in terms of organization and management.

- Setting up of 150 research centers who are conducting research activities in various fields. To this figure should  be added  150 libraries which pursue the task of providing  information. .These 300 centers are active only in Qhom. Of course , it is  necessary that a careful review be conducted about the subjects that these centers do research about  and also about the content of  information programs so that it would  become clear to what extent are these  center are working toward developmental change.

 

2-  Change in educational system

 

     In response to the need for change that was felt, the Seminary  tried to adopt the model of the higher education system. The most important changes in the  Seminary educational system are the following:

 

          ·     Selection of religious students:

To  select the religious students entrance exams are held. In the past, entrees to the Seminary were not selected from the viewpoint of scientific knowledge and  the number of  religious  students with below secondary school diploma was very high. Now that entrance exams are held,  more literate persons are absorbed. Currently, there is a separate program for students with below the secondary school diploma education, but the general policy is to cross it out. In general, the Seminary intends not to accept individuals who lack the necessary competence.

          ·     The content of the educational  program:

The educational program of the Seminary follows the model of the higher education system, and adopting the unit system, it offers  specialized fields of study. In terms of  syllabus, courses like psychology, sociology, political sciences, economics, education, law, international law, logic, philosophy, mysticism, geography, Persian literature, writing skills , research methods have been added to previous lessons which has fully changed the content of the program.

          ·     In terms of degrees, educational degrees have been classified following the model of the  higher education system. In the Seminary, the educational system consists four levels, each level being granted a degree as follows:

 

Segatolislam for graduates of  general course (6 years)

Hojjatolislam for graduates of semi-specialized course (3 years)

Ayatollah for graduates of  complementary specialized course which takes at least  2.5 years to complete and after its completion, the individual becomes a Mojtahid  (Jurisprudent in one  of the titles of the  humanities.

 

     A proposal is  currently under consideration  which is to have these degrees confirmed by the Ministry of Sciences or have them adapted to the existing system of higher education in order to facilitate the access of the  clerics to the labor market and their employment in the organizations. Of course, as long as the individuals are at the Seminary, they  do not need degrees. The clergy needs a degree confirmed by the Ministry of Sciences for employment outside the Seminary. Currently, the Seminary and research centers affiliated to it,  award doctorates in the fields of  principles, jurisprudence, theology, philosophy and  propagation, and this move has be wildered  the Ministry of Sciences.

Other innovations of the educational system which are modeled the higher education system are the following:

                                 ·     Establishment of the faculty board system and envisaging  advisory committee for judging the papers,

                                 ·     Establishment of specialized courses in 15 fields, mostly in religious sciences and  humanities,

                                 ·     Dividing  the educational year into two  semesters each consisting of 15 weeks.

                                 ·     Establishment of the Seminary for girls and women who accepts individuals having the high school diploma. The  content of syllabus  for this Seminary is similar to  that of the Seminary for men, with some small differences, including the addition of lessons like  nutrition,  cooking, hygiene and the like.

                                 ·     Training of instructors for the lessons of religious sciences, jurisdiction and Arabic literature.

                                 ·     Establishment of exams and formal evaluations.

                                 ·     Creation of advanced electronic system of information. Three servers are active in the Qhom Seminary in providing Internet services and many  sites and data banks have been set up.

                                 ·     The founding of some universities in Qhom such as the Mofid university’ the Bagheruoloom university and the university of Judicial Sciences  which  are all  associated to the  Ministry of Sciences,

                                 ·      Dispatching of students to countries abroad for studying in doctorate programs, for instance, in  philosophy with this argument that in order to negate the  materialist philosophy, it is first necessary to master it well.

 

      In general, evaluations made by the  people inside the system show that religious authorities are not satisfied with the present situation of the Seminary  and consider the following shortcomings to be serious:

 

              ·     Lack of adequate  quantitative expansion of the clergy. According to the  latest statistics prepared by  the Plan and Budget Organization in December 1998, in the year 1988 there were 53541 Mosques throughout the country which increased to 57635 mosques in 1995. And in 1996, according to the  Report of  the Administrative and Financial Deputy  of the Qhom Seminary Islamic Propagation Office, there have been about 57 thousand  clerics and students of religious sciences countrywide which, considering the country’s population there is for every 1000 of the population, one clergy.

              ·     Lack of expansion of the Seminary in terms of content and existence of many unresolved jurisprudential and theological problems. In terms of content, the Seminary has  not kept pace with the  times in jurisprudence, philosophy, theology, law, and even ethics and has no scientific jurisprudential product for his own times[1].

 

     Based on  what has been discussed so far, it could be said that a change is underway in the institution of religion and the clergy has been unwantedly put in the progress of its own renovation. The rise of a new generation of modernists and religious intellectuals who have launched a new discourse  on the  most important religious issues and are the real flag-bearers of this change, has also led to the development of the Seminary. Apparently, these  two forces seem not only to be going in different ways , but are  also opposed to each other. But in fact, both are factors of the modernization of the Seminary and the institution of the  clergy. Of course, facing this wave, there are many resisting forces who are mainly found among the traditionalist clerics of the Seminary. But it does not seem they could withstand against this uprooting  flood for long. The institution of the clergy has been engaged with the realities of today’s world for 20 years and today it stands at a point that it has to accept the realities  of the times and for this reason is trying to regulate its behavior according to the rules of the  game of the present times and that of the advanced world. The fulfillment of this task, will  remove the most important obstacle of Iran’s development.

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

    The picture offered of the situation  in Iran, leads us to conclude that on the basis of statistics and present realities, the developments in Iran - of course, with difficulty , slowly and at heavy costs - are  underway around three integrated solid and homogeneous pivots which in order of importance are as  follows:

 

1- The most important  trends of change are going on in the deepest layers of culture and indeed, in the most fundamental element of it, namely, religion. The religious  renaissance whose evidence has become apparent, will enter Iran into a new phase of its political and social life.

2- Beginning of democratization of the political system, which will lead to the establishment of democratic structures and organizations as well as favorable environment for the growth of individual liberties, blossoming  of creativities and realization of the rights of individuals and organizations. Finally, it will contribute to the establishment of security and political stability which are necessary for economic development.

3- The trend of liberalization and globalization of the economy which  although has begun at a slower pace than the two other currents, nevertheless, will accelerate with the removal of cultural and political obstacles. The important point is that the Iranian people have changed more  quickly than the ruling system.

 

     The people of Iran, especially  after Mr.Khatami came to power, have  regained their lost national  pride. Mr. Khatami’s presence in the international scene as a political thinker and promoter of a new thinking in international politics and raising of new ideas like the dialogue among civilizations and cultures as well as new political ethics and human  look at the political management, at the national and global levels, is a highly important factor in accelerating the recent developments in Iran. The unexpected brilliance of  Iran in the areas of football and film - making in the world is both  a sign of the potential capabilities of the Iranian people and has also contributed to the rebirth of  this national pride and  self confidence. Now public  opinion is more ready, compared to the past, to  agree with the government and go  along with the flow of developments. Of course, it must be remembered that public opinion is usually affected by particular events and focuses on the present, rarely paying profound attention to  the trends with a  provactive view to the future.

 

     Similarly , the existence of groups which have a vested interest in keeping the status quo intact and create obstacles on the way of changes and developments in Iran, and more importantly,  have all the levers of power still in their own hand, should not be overlooked.

 

      If we return to two key assumptions of this paper that 1) Global obligations and presence at world arenas, particularly globalization of the economy, have pressured the Iranian society for change and  2) The obligation of Iranian economy has put under pressure for change the whole social system of Iran, currently there is this understanding that the problems of the Iranian economy are important and have priority , but that resolving them is dependent on the  removal of non-economic obstacles, it seems that it could be claimed that these obstacles are being eliminated, if the clergy would become “modern” and the thinking system governing it would  understand the obligations of today and of the  advanced society, the cultural economic development will be removed more quickly.


 

Appendix No.1

 

 

Environmental NGOs

 

 1. Women’s Center for Quality and Sustainable development

 2. The Green Ideal

 3. The Green Sound

 4. Association For Conservation Of Mountain Environment

 5. The Society Of Nature Lovers.

 6. The Society Of Lovers Of Animals

 7. Association Of Environment Experts

 8. The Green Message

 9. The Green Front Of Iran

10.Women’s Society For Campaigning Against Environment Pollution

11.Gilan Green Wearers Society

12.Supporter Of Green Thought

13.Teenage Green Group

 

NGOs of women

 1. The Iranian Midwifery Society

 2. Islamic Association Of Physicians

 3. Shiraz Health Liaison Institute

 4. Association Of Zoroastrian Women

 5. The Cooperatives Unit Of Rural Women

 6. The Farsi Speaking Engineering And Consulting Cooperative Of Women

 7. Iranian Jews Agency Office

 8. Association Of Armenian

 9. The Foundation Of Zeinab

10.Islamic  Institute Of Women

11.Woman’s Message

12.Zeinab Society

13.Association Of Kahrizak Charitable Women

14.Yasaman Charity Society

15.Mevika Institute

16.Association Of Advocates Of Peace

17.The Ahle-Beit Society

18.Rural Women Cooperative (60 Cooperatives Active In Rural Areas)

19.The Center Of Women Of Sharif Industrial University

20.Woman And Family Society

21.Najm Cooperative

22.Center Of Jewish Women And Girls

23.Organization For Defense Of Victims Of Violence

24.Khatame - Anbia Relief Institute

25.The Message Of Hajar

26.Center For Studies And Research On Islamic Women

27.Roshte - Elm Research Institute

28.Mashhad Pasteur Health And Treatment Cooperative

29.Yazd Kosar Cooperative Of Women

30.Association Of Assyrians

 

Ngos of young people

 

     Samples Of Young People Ngos Which Are Active  In Tehran Are As Follows:

 1. Association Young Citizen

 2. Thoughtful Young People

 3.  Scheme For A System Of Accepting Popular Proposals

 4. Council Of The Young People Of Lavizan

 5. Young People Of North Tehran

 6. Association Of Shimiranat Young People

 7. Center For The  Union Of Young People With Elites

 8. Association For The Partnership Of Young People

 9. Association Of Young Intellectuals

10.Society Of Advocates Of  Green Thought

11.Rey House Of The Young

12.Young People Of The South Of Tehran

13.Kaj (Center For Tourism And Touring Iran)

14.Youth Organization


 

 

Network of Iranian Consultants

 

 1. Association Of Management Consultants

 2. Association For Development And Quality Improvement Of Iranian Industries

 3. Iranian Management Association

 4. Association Of Expert Accountants

 5. Iranian Association Of Job Classification

 6. Sustainable Development Quality Center

 7. Iranian Association Of Consulting Engineers

 

Iranian Association Of Informatic Companies.


 

 

Appendix No.2

 

Percentage of public participation by the provinces, in the  7 terms of presidential elections

 

No

Name of province

Average % of participation in 7 term of presidential elections

   1.   

QhOm

92.59

   2.   

Markazi

91.45

   3.   

Lorestan

83.46

   4.   

Ilam

81.79

   5.   

Semnan

77.55

   6.   

Yazd

76.38

   7.   

Kohkiloyeh and Boyerahmad

73.62

   8.   

Zanjan

72.44

   9.   

Kerman

69.71

 10. 

Hamedan

69.04

 11. 

Fars

68.72

 12. 

Isfahan

68.01

 13. 

Bushehr

67.61

 14. 

Mazandaran

66.59

 15. 

Chaharmahal and Bakhtyari

65.51

 16. 

Khorasan

65.04

 17. 

Tehran

61.71

 18. 

Ardabil

61.40

 19. 

Khozestan

59.03

 20. 

Hormozgan

58.65

 21. 

East Azarbaijan

58.42

 22. 

Gilan

57.31

 23. 

Kermanshah

57.10

 24. 

West-Azarbaijan

54.15

 25. 

Kurdestan

50.40

 26. 

Sistan and Baluchistan

42.03

Source: State Elections Headquarters, Oct. 1999


 

Appendix No.3

 

Average percentage of public participation in 16 elections held

 

 

No.

Name of

the Province

 

Elections Total

 

Islamic

Councils

Blamie

Counsultative

Assembly

 

Pressidency

 

Experts

Assembly

   1.    

East- Azerbaijan

53.89

65.98

57.55

58.42

53.18

   2.    

West- Azarbaijan

56.94

72.34

60.36

54.15

52.62

   3.    

Ardabil

62.30

74.20

70.36

67.40

44.14

   4.    

Isfahan

62.23

54.11

61.68

68.10

52.90

   5.    

Ilam

80.11

93.29

75.85

81.79

78.87

   6.    

Bushehr

66.79

73.15

64.13

67.61

67.41

   7.    

Tehran

54.96

39.03

52.93

62.62

37.39

   8.    

Chaharmahal and Baktyari

67.64

85.77

72.66

65.51

57.21

   9.    

Khorasan

62.57

67.23

61.28

65.04

57.39

 10.  

Khuzestan

60.76

66.68

66.90

59.03

52.59

 11.  

Zanjan

67.73

70.51

70.16

66.98

59.10

 12.  

Semnan

74.90

72.02

76.32

77.55

67.32

 13.  

Sistan and Baluchestan

47.48

85.82

46.86

42.03

48.96

 14.  

Fars

67.58

68.49

62.76

68.72

55.98

 15.  

Qazvin

63.71

74.98

-

-

52.44

 16.  

Qhom

67.06

50.05

-

92.59

58.54

 17.  

Kurdistan

54.20

87.21

56.06

50.40

50.55

 18.  

Kerman

66.34

79.87

64.30

69.71

57.17

 19.  

Kerman Shah

57.45

75.36

56.29

57.10

53.91

 20.  

Kohkiloyeh and Boyerahmad

74.84

99.99

78.10

73.62

63.85

 21.  

Golestan

71.35

78.14

 

-

64.55

 22.  

Gilan

59.95

72.57

62.18

57.31

57.29

 23.  

Lorestan

73.51

77.99

67.30

82.46

61.15

 24.  

Mazandaran

66.83

75.25

70.13

66.59

59.10

 25.  

Markazi

84.13

64.70

83.56

91.45

74.50

 26.  

Hormozgan

58.55

79.68

58.35

58.65

51.61

 27.  

Hamedan

64.36

63.86

62.26

69.04

56.67

 28.  

Yazd

72.61

65.86

69.62

76.38

65.04

 

Percentage of total votes to eligible voters

60.88

64.42

62

64.23

50.98

Source: State election headquarters, October 199

 


 

*  This article was presented by the author at the annual meeting of  Middle East Studies Association (MESA) held on 21 November 1999 in Washingon. D.C.

[1] - Refer to the text of remarks by Ayatollah Khamenei made in the autum of 1995 at the visit of the Seminary’s dignitaries and jurisprudents, in Qhom. The full text of these remarks are contained in various sources Including the following one:

Hojjatoleslam Val Moslemin Hossaini Alhashemi,  Analysis of  Programme Topics,, published by Office of Islamic Sciences Academy, August 1996