The Prospects of Human Security in Iran

This paper attempts to review the fluctuations in the level and quality of human security in contemporary Iran. In this comparative review, which is based mostly on the data provided by the UN Human Development Reports and the statistical reports of the Iranian government, the concept of human security is taken as more expansive than mere economic well being of the citizenry. Furthermore, the review compares and contrasts in some detail the human security indices of the pre and post-revolutionary periods. In the pre-Revolutionary period, hard work, natural resources and a set of generally balanced economic plans and social development projects had allowed the Iranian people to reach significant levels of economic security and social freedoms. In the last quarter century, however, unprecedented discriminative social constraints, inappropriate economic priorities and unprecedented bureaucratic corruption and mismanagement have combined to lower significantly the level of the economic security and social welfare of the Iranian people as a whole.

Reasons for this decline have long been known to the top-level decision-makers in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In fact, in the first year of his presidency, Mr. Khatami characterized the country's economy as suffering from serious malaise. In practice, however, the policies and plans adopted by his government contributed to further deterioration of the economic situation. It now seems, therefor, that, without fundamental changes in Iran's political and judicial structures, the chances for the creation of an economy, geared toward satisfying the basic demands of a restive population, are quite slim. For, the current political institutions are inherently incapable of allowing for full and free public participation in the political arena; a participation that is sine qua non for jumpstarting Iran's moribund economy.

Farrokh Najmabadi
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