By Syma Sayyah, Tehran
Tehran is hot and the only thing that makes the high 30's temperature bearable is the light breeze that we get on and off. We are very lucky since thanks to my Mr Zabbi we are enjoying the small pool we have in our garden, especially when I come home from work. Due to water shortages, we have never used the tap water to fill our pool and always buy it in tankers at great cost, noise and inconvenience, repeated every fortnight to make sure it is full and so we can quietly share it with our friends.
The traffic is so bad, the heat does not help and at times one wonders what hell would be like! Recently we were told that Tehran needs more than 1.5 million extra parking spaces. That is not surprising with all these cars and the different petrol rationing programs has had almost no effect on petrol usage. Can you believe that when the petrol rationing was introduced the car prices actually went up!
And yes, the never ending building projects in Tehran continue, with all the pollution, and middle of the night noises and inconvenience for all the neighborhood for the benefit of those who will be even richer once it is done. Well, at least in theory; since in reality so many of these apartments remain empty even though and maybe because the price of properties of any kind and rent has gone sky high. To add salt to the wound, for the ordinary people who do not benefit from tripled oil prices in less than 15 months the general inflation is driving people's standards of living awfully low and one wonders how people manage their daily lives, it must be close to a miracle that this city of ours can stand on its feet and people keep up, although one must admit there is a lot of open complaining in the public at large in taxis, in the queues. Everything is more expensive and one just has to cut nonessentials; but if this goes on it might come to cutting essentials too.
On the economy side of the equation an expert was saying at a dinner that the best thing that can happen is for government to divide the oil money among the people and take off all subsidies, and let the people decide what and where they want to spend their money and be responsible for it and its consequences and then the government can live on its collection of taxes. This is like most unlikely scenario I have heard since this would mean that the size of the government must be reduced to a minimum in a country where some 80% of all businesses are run and done by government or mostly through its related organizations, which is rather worse than the former Soviet Union times. At another gathering another expert said to overcome the staggering housing prices and (given the fact that Iranian government has never done what anybody expects), the value of the rial instead of being devalued will be revalued and then all those who have put their money, (which mostly only god knows how and where it was earned), in property will want to sell in order to transfer their rials into dollars or Euros earned from oil revenue. Another one said that property prices are coming down because the money from their sale is likely to be attracted by the Tehran stock exchange as it is beginning to come back to life after its recent past years sagas. Who knows if one or any of these possible policies will come to life or what will happen next?
On the positive side our doves are back in our balcony and one of them has laid two eggs but this time they have set their nest on the hasseer (wooden curtain for keeping the sun away). So not only we can not touch the hasseer but we do not dare to go into the balcony out of fear of disturbing the young mother. May be this a good positive sign and maybe life is beginning to change for the better.
This wish goes for the recent package presented to Iran by the group of 5+1 brought over by a high delegation headed by Mr. Solana. Many hope that it will somehow and eventually be accepted by Iran, given that Iran right to sovereignty is accepted and silly threats and sanctions are lifted. The fact that it was presented to several officials including Mr. Motaki- the Foreign Minister- Mr, Larijani-speaker of the Parliament and Mr. Jalili- who is in charge of the Nuclear issue talks- and in particular because one of the main significances of this new package is the fact that it bears the signature of Dr Rice as well. May god help so that the package is accepted and this issue is resolved and thus it can open the door to better economic prospect for this nation of ours. We need over a million jobs a year to be created. The economy is in such a shambles that this seems impossible. Many graduates still leave or wish to and this time the destination is more likely to be Australia than Canada. Most never come back at a great loss to our country. Iran is a great country and Tehran is my beloved city and I can only hope and pray that things improve for all, Inshalah (God Willing)!
Related link for peace: http://motherspeace.blogfa.com/
... Payvand News - 07/14/08 ... --