Free Thoughts on Iran
Front Page | About FToI | Authors | Archives | Comment Policy | Disclaimer
e-mail

bra.gif Innovative technologies can help moral police | Main

May 13, 2007

Opening Iran's Domestic Market to International Banking
Guest Author: Ali Dadpay

moneyglobe.jpg Fars News Agency reports that Iran's minister of Economic Affairs and Finance announced last week that Iranian government welcomes international banks' presence in Iranian domestic market. Speaking in a gathering of bank directors he told them that the necessary preparations are completed for international banks to open their branches in Tehran and other Iranian cities. In its latest dispatch Fars News Agency reports that 44 foreign banks have offices in Tehran and most likely they all will be allowed to open branches in Iran to offer consumer level banking services.

This marks a milestone in liberalizing Iran’s economy. For long international banks had been considered as the instruments of international capitalism in Iran by intellectuals and revolutionaries alike. The government absolute control of banking sector had been warranted to protect the country. However, Iran's 2020 vision promises an active private banking sector with dynamic links with global banking community. Reluctant to lose their control of economy neither President Khatami’s reformist administration nor President Ahmadenejad's radical cabinet was eager to follow this goal vigorously.

It seems it has become a matter of national prestige to expand such ties and to open Iranian domestic market to global banking. Ironically efforts to isolate the country have crowded out those who oppose an open economy in Iran. Currently many parties are motivated to defy these efforts by inviting foreign banks to operate in Iran. If they succeed this will set up the infrastructure of an open economy in Iran by encouraging Iranian policy makers to accept a private banking sector with international ties.

Ali Dadpay is an economist working as a consultant in the Chicago area. This piece was first published on his personal weblog, Bazar Dispatch, where he writes about Economics, Middle Eastern economies and living in the USA.
Comments
Craig at May 14, 2007 07:56 AM [permalink]:

Hmmm... kind of off topic, but a foreign bank that opens in Iran would hire exclusively Iranian employees? Or are there actually foreigners who would be insane enough to take their lives in their hands and volunteer to be a hostage in Iran? I mean, regular employees. I know there are journalists and college professors who always love to go to countries where they will be taken hostage, but what about the suit and tie office worker crowd? And if there are people who disregard their own safety to that extent, how much more does one have to pay them? DO they get hazard pay?

Arash Jalali at May 14, 2007 08:23 AM [permalink]:

Craig,
Seems you have never been held hostage in Iran. Let me educate you. You don't need to worry. Unlike the U.S., where even people with valid visas, including women and children might be held in jail over night, as long as you have a valid Iranian visa you can come and go. Of course if you really want to become famous , then you can enlist in the army. Good old Georgy will make sure you get a free air lift to Iraq in no time, close to Iranian borders. Then all you gotta do is get on a boat and do some "intelligence gathering" in Iranian territorial waters or somewhere nearby. You can bring your iPod during the patrol if you want. If you're lucky the IRGC people won't shoot you and you will be brought inland for a nice little "compulsory vacation". You get to eat delicious Iranian cuisine, you will be given souvenirs and a tailor made suit. You will also get the chance to meet our lovely unshaven poor man's version of Georgy. And then you will fly first class back home. You will get a great TV or book deal. You can wine about how you cried yourself to sleep every night because the barbaric Iranians took away your iPod and called you "Mr. Bean" and hushed you when you wanted to speak to other inmates. You will become rich and hopefully won't have to spend any more time writing idiotic, "kinda' off topic" comments under a post about economy.

Babak S at May 14, 2007 11:31 AM [permalink]:

Actually, apart from the sarcasm, Craig has a point. As long as security is an issue these gestures are ineffective. And by security I don't mean actually going to jail in person, but losing to the government and its laws what's important in the game of business: money. What are the international banks to make of the nuclear row? Iran is being subjected to an increasing level of sanctions. That has a direct effect on the profitability of the banks' operations.

And, as a matter of course, one should note that this is not a decision yet but only an "intention" of a minister. The decision is made when the cabinet presents a formal Act to the Majlis and after they have voted that in, the ultimate word is with the Gaurdian Council. So, don't get your hopes too high!

Mehrdad H. at May 14, 2007 11:57 AM [permalink]:

Craig,

You would better save your energy for a more suitable topic. But,if you really can't wait till then, you can give your hyperactivity a chance in Iraq. Have you ever tried it yourself? I trust you "are the right man for the job."


Babak,

Lack of financial security is a little bit different from being prone to be taken hostage as a regular employee. I see more than just sarcasm in this nasty distortion of the truth.

Arash Jalali at May 14, 2007 12:00 PM [permalink]:

Babak, I think you're refering to what I believe is called "risk of investment", which has always been high in Iran compared to many neighboring economies like that of the UAE. How this risk is measured and quantified is generally irrespective of who the investor is, or where they come from.

One clear indication of how good or bad the situation is in terms of investor confidence, is the stock market index. Right after Ahmadinejad was named "president-elect", a couple of months before he even took office, the Iranian stock market started to take a deep dive into unprecedented lows.

As for the foreign Banks, well I think it's just one of those lame PR moves of Ahmadinejad that is more aimed at the domestic audience. As someone who is struggling with this issue on an almost monthly basis, I can tell you it has become virtually impossible to have even one cent transferred to Iran through official Banking channels and right now many people who are dealing with overseas partners are using private foreign exchange agencies here in Tehran to transfer money. Money that is not traceable and is therefore difficult to declare in one's tax form, even if someone wants to pay their taxes. Given this situation, the idea of foreign Banks "investing" in Iran can be nothing more than a joke at the moment.

Ali at May 14, 2007 12:01 PM [permalink]:

As a matter of fact, the high council of economic affairs has already approved it and it is an act now. They are waiting to recieve applications to process. As for employees' side of it, there are many countries whose nationals could work in Iran. Probably from South East Asia, East Asia and even GCC countries. To the best of my knowledge several hundreds foriegn citizens are working in Iran's different projects currently. Besides, given the expansion of MBA, economics and financial studies in Iran in last decade I have no doubt that international banks would not have a problem finding suitable candidates.

AIS at May 14, 2007 10:15 PM [permalink]:

"...in this nasty distortion of the truth."
wow.
Mehrdad You are the great defender of the "truth" (!)aren't you?
yeah baby!
Don't stop!
Keep going.
Give us more of your "truthful" slogans, buddy.

"... war is peace!"
"..freedom is slavery!"
.
.
.

Ali at May 14, 2007 11:36 PM [permalink]:

I am amazed how a simple observation of economic affairs could be turned into this exchange of political opinions. I am preparing a note on risk of investment in Iran.

AIS at May 15, 2007 09:38 AM [permalink]:

Because that is the point , Ali. An ideological totalitarian fascistic state makes it so.
And that includes its dumb defenders who talk of ditortion of the truth for something that hasn't happend yet! One shoudl ask them, howdo you knwo before hand what the truth is that it is being distorted! These loud dumbs know of course for the same reason the regime they actively engage in its propaganda does. Its the ideology that tells you the "truth", so futire, past all this details become irrelavant.... ah forget it. If I got to explain the point in such detail it ain't even funny anymore .

You do that. By all means. Act as if we are talking about Switzerland here where you can determine the risk of management before hand. Why bother, eh? That there are other holders of "truth" who storm embassies, attack them, take peopel hostages for the show, attack a shop taht resembles McDonalds...yeah, why bother, when we can "act" as if we are talking about ana ctaul political government and not a bundle of ideological crimnal mafiosos in charge.
ah... whatever!

AIS at May 15, 2007 09:42 AM [permalink]:

and as usual sorry for the typos. That happens when I argue with dumb propagandaists and "truth"-holders. It think unconsciously I knwoe it won't be worth full attnetion anyway.

Babak S at May 15, 2007 01:00 PM [permalink]:

Ali, have you read this news in Fars News? It says that the "Council of Money and Credit" has approved the requests and sent it to the cabinet so it goes to the Majlis as an Act... .

Ali at May 15, 2007 01:54 PM [permalink]:

I mixed up translating as far as I know Council for banking and credit is part of high council for economic affairs. i might be a bit wrong about it becoming an act that fast. I interpret his speech as this already happened. nonetheless it does not reduce the significance of the event. Iran is moving toward attracting international banking at a consumer level. took us 28 years to get here.

by the way may i ask AIS whom he so kindly call "An ideological totalitarian fascistic" and its "dumb defenders". and my dear Sir, it is part of my professionalism as an economist to observe as it is a switzerland! a physician check his or her patient as human being. the rules of nature apply everywhere, so do laws of economics.

Ali at May 15, 2007 03:25 PM [permalink]:

Babak, I re-read the dispatch and my note again i did not mention either council in the note. i think that was something that skipped my mind answering a comment. So I correct myself: Council of credit and banking approved of it and it is on its way to become an act. However, experience shows sometimes things move much faster and some people start to act before a council's suggestion or approved program becomes an act and a law.

AIS at May 16, 2007 04:10 AM [permalink]:

No Ali, those were not meant for you, can't you read?!
(Having said that, if you actually take issues with calling the regime in Iran what it is, then it might as well apply to you too.)

Now, as concerning professionalism, economy, nature, switzerland an so on, I guess I'll wait to read your analysis of "investment risk". I'll just say something about the logic of your analogy that is so clearly defective.
Now I know about how nature is the same everywhere and all that, I just don't see how that is supposed to be particualrly relevant here.
See, if I come by a physician standing by a bed where an infected hyena is bound up, and the good doctor keeps insisting that he has no choice but to consider the beast as human due to his medical professionalism, while he examining it, and that since its all nature anyway that is just fine... now I can only deduce that there is something pretty wrong with that physician and his idea of professionalism! I don't know about you....


(And my apologies to teh hyena community for the comparison. hyenas are decent and respectable creatures, unlike the entity I compared them to.)

Craig at May 16, 2007 09:01 AM [permalink]:

I'm stunned and amazed that so many Iranians actually think their country is safe for foreigners. What are you guys smoking? Arash you don't have to worry about me. I won't be going to Iran. Ever. I might have if that regime was replaced... until I read these comments. Iranians obviously have no moral qualms about hostage taking. A regime change ain't gonna fix that, buddy!

I just feel sorry for anyone who is stupid enough to buy into this BS. I can see how it benefits big business, but how does it benefit the poor slobs who go to Iran thinking they might be safe there?

Craig at May 16, 2007 09:05 AM [permalink]:

PS-didn't this blog used to matter? what happened? It looks like a regime public relations publication. An article on how to make nifty hostage ware? An article on how to use technology to monitor people in public? An article on how to attract foreign hostages... oh, I mean investment! So sorry!

Well, if people are too stupid to know they shouldn't be living in a country like Iran if they can possibly live anywhere else, they deserve what they get. Lets see how many pigeons you can attract.

Craig at May 16, 2007 09:36 AM [permalink]:

It just occurred to me that you some of you guys honestly don't know what kind of reputation Iran has picked up since 1978. I suggest those of you who know people in the US, ask them to do a little informal poll. This should be a non-Iranian so that you get the real answers. Have them ask random mid-level technical/professional people (regular corporate types) how they'd feel about being transferred to a new branch opening in Tehran. Simple. And best of all, no need for name calling.

Arash,

Let me educate you. You don't need to worry.

Is that what passes for education in Iran? A lie? How many US Nationals (not dual citizens) are in Iran right now? I only know of one, and he is "missing".

Unlike the U.S., where even people with valid visas, including women and children might be held in jail over night, as long as you have a valid Iranian visa you can come and go.

Unless you are a Canadian Photographer, in which case you might be tortured, raped and beaten to death for taking pictures. By Policemen. In a jail. Sure as hell makes me want to go there. That's nothing compared to what we Americans do to foreign journalists, right, Arash? :(

Babak S at May 16, 2007 01:07 PM [permalink]:

Craig,

I believe you are right about Iran's reputation. Most things about Iran in the news is very negative. And I believe that has a direct link with reality. The regime is very unpredictable in actual actions when it comes to dealing with foreign nationals. And it's not just the government, which is to some extent weary of their bad image and might wish to keep a good face -- there are many affiliated thugs who can be used by the government and/or powerful factions in it to further their cause or score a point in the power struggle. All in all, I agree it is not a safe environment to work. Hell, many of us Iranian nationals here think so ourselves, let alone others.

But I do invite you to visit Iran if you can. As a tourist. It is a beautiful place with lots of history (if you are interested), varied nature, etc. Your stay would be a bit rough in some respects but if you keep low you would be safe. You might come to see the people there as people with all their abilities, potentials and also shortcomings despite the miserable political situation.

Arash Jalali at May 16, 2007 03:58 PM [permalink]:

Babak,
I appreciate you taking time to describe the situation with a more detached (if not too conciliatory) tone, but I wouldn't waste my time if I were you, explaining anything to the kind of ignorant people who would day:

"if people are too stupid to know they shouldn't be living in a country like Iran if they can possibly live anywhere else, they deserve what they get"

As someone who does still live in Iran and does have the possibility to live elsewhere I would say the last thing I need to add to the troubles of likes of me trying to make my country a tiny teeny amount better place to live for myself, and hopefully my fellow countrymen, with all the troubles and hardships mullahs have brought and are still bringing our way, is having to explain my country to some couch potato redneck who thinks he knows Iran better than me just because he is watching Fox News and CNN.

Iran's problems as you know are multifaceted. We all did experience during the mid-90's when we were students what our parents ironically did in the 70's; the wave of passion and youthful hope for a phony mullah and an overnight solution to all the problems brought on by the same mullahs. Of course we all know where this country ended up; in the hands of some Neanderthal who got a lot of votes because he promised economic prosperity to the masses. I think it was once mentioned by one of FToI's readers (AIS maybe?) that the solution lies in a liberal free market economy. I have come to the same conclusion that economy, and step by step, inch by inch conquest of control by a free market economy is the only hope, however dim it might be, for this country. And for that to happen we, as in those who live in Iran and those who don't but care enough, ought to work towards opening and keeping economic ties with domestic and foreign partners, and constantly seek help and vision from likes of Ali Dadpay. I and many like me are struggling for that end, working with partners in and outside, occasionally with kinds of acrobatics one would think is only shown in the movies to get the job done and to keep the economic ties with people who do matter on going. In the mean time, ignorant yahoos on both sides, be them Baseejis or some redneck hillbilly half way around the world, would keep on doing what they do best; shout, scream and scatter their nonsense wherever and to whomever they happen to find; and the best way to deal with them is not to waste much time educating them on who's the enemy or who's the friend, let them get their daily dose of ignorance from Bill O'Reilly and Rahimpour Azghadi.

AIS at May 16, 2007 08:56 PM [permalink]:

Arash,

yes it was me who said that and I'm happy you agree. I also appreciate what you say and how people like you are woking step by step to get the country to that direction. Also no one would be happier than me if the international banking gets roots inside Iran. However the possibility of rash actions by one of the many islamist factions and mafia grousp against them is real. I mean one faction stormed to teh airport built by the other in its inauguration date just for one example.
It is no use to pretend that is not happening and that it is not probable to happen again. And if it does, the backlash would behorrible still.
I honestly can't see how a mafia pseudo-regime can ever allow free market capitalist economy to take root in the society it is controlling. What it does is to use the free market everywhere else and creat a black market of its products in its realm. Anything that threatens that and move it towards a systematic accountable free capitalist system can't be tolerated. At least I don't think it ever will.
Now after this regime is gone, that is a different story.

Craig at May 16, 2007 10:08 PM [permalink]:

is having to explain my country to some couch potato redneck who thinks he knows Iran better than me just because he is watching Fox News and CNN.

Gee, Arash, thanks! I may actually know more about Iran than you do, considering you live there. But that's not the point.

I was on active duty in the US Marines from 1983 to 1989. The USMC is the closest think the US has to your Revolutionary Guard Corps. There are some things in my background from 1983 specifically that would probably be red flags to the IRI. The US does not use military personnel the way Iran does, but I doubt that they believe that.

Can you *really* guarantee my safety, if I went to Iran? And if asked, do you think I should lie, or tell the truth? What if I lie, and they find out anyway? What if I tell the truth, but somebody assumes there must be more?

And really, just who among us westerners who has a background that would be completely above suspicion to the IRI, if they choose to level false charges? Nobody I know.

And really, why should I or anybody else be willing to take that chance? To help your country? You said yourself you are pre-occupied with your own interests, Arash. Serve your own interests, then. And let me serve mine. The two do not coincide on this one.

PS-Why would you call me a redneck? Do you think everyone in the US is white? And are you aware that's a racial slur?

Ali at May 17, 2007 11:31 AM [permalink]:

Craig
No one ever can provide such guarantees to anyone, do they guarantee your safety if you go to Russia to visit some provinces?
and no one needs you to put yourself in danger. Although some westerners are horrified by the idea of working in Iran, many many other nationalities will do so willingly. Any international organization or bank have thousands of employees from other countries.

Besides even now, there are 44 banks active in Tehran, the goal is to open the domestic market so they can loan, issue credit card, give mortgage loan and to provide branch services to Iranians! for that rest assure such organizations will rather hire Iranians and will send someone with similar background to them; Turks, Indians, Pakistanis, Arabs, to manage the field.

So nobody needs someone like you to come to Iran to work there, although you are always welcome as a guest and your welfare is guaranteed.

For Babak: there are interest groups everywhere, and there also are some in Iran. I assure you such organizations have dealt with worse and have succeeded.

For Babak and Craig: you two have a point, but to me it seems your talk is all about proving that you do have a point. I agree you have a point, but having a point never has done anything for anyone or any country. having a solution does.

It will work in Iran, I have seen less unlikely things to work in Iran.

Mehrdad H. at May 17, 2007 11:49 AM [permalink]:

Craig,

“How many US Nationals (not dual citizens) are in Iran right now?”

There are many. I have a native American English teacher who has been living in Iran for the past 15 years. She teaches English at different institutes, as well as holds private small group classes at her husband’s office. Furthermore, she and a group of other native Americans and Canadians who also live in Mashhad, a city north east of Iran, have regular gatherings and every year day hold Christmas parties together.

Mehrdad H. at May 17, 2007 11:50 AM [permalink]:

Below you can find a letter my English teacher has sent to a university professor in the US:


Dear Dr. ????,

Just wanted to wish you a wonderful 1385 for you and your family. Hope
you're fine. We went to the Caspian Sea for the holidays, sans K???. He
stayed in Mashhad to study and be spoiled by his grandma downstairs.
Before New Year, I went with E??? to Esfahan as I was invited to a
Stanford alum dinner with a Stanford travel/study group that was
visiting Iran for a few days. This was the 3rd time I have attended such
an event, but only the first after Sept. 11th. I am frankly surprised
that they came seeing that Iran has been getting a lot of bad press
lately. Well, take care and we hope to see you the next time we are in
California.
Best regards,

Mehrdad H. at May 17, 2007 11:51 AM [permalink]:

Craig,

“Have them ask random mid-level technical/professional people (regular corporate types) how they'd feel about being transferred to a new branch opening in Tehran”

I just refer to the response I received from a university professor in Canada a couple of years ago when I was applying for a postgraduate position.

“dear dr. ????,
thanks for inquiring about a research opportunity in my lab. regretably, my lab is full at present.
as you may know, i visited iran to attend the 17th iranian physiology and pharmacology congress in kerman last october. afterwards, i spoke at shariati hospital in tehran, and also at tehran university. i was deeply impressed by the intelligence, hard work, enthusiasm and hospitality of the iranian students and trainees. as it is now, i have 2 iranians in my lab, and have accepted another to arrive in 2007. if i had space, and more research funds, i would take many more.
since your previous work is in neurophysiology, you may wish to contact my colleague, prof. ??? ??? (???@???.ca) to see if he may have a position for you.
sorry i cannot help you directly, but best wishes for your research career.
sincerely,

Mehrdad H. at May 17, 2007 11:53 AM [permalink]:

“There are some things in my background from 1983 specifically that would probably be red flags to the IRI.”

Needless to mention it Craig. Hatred, anger, and hostility are evident everywhere in your comments. You really need to undergo intensive treatment before you endanger yourself and/or others.


“I was on active duty in the US Marines from 1983 to 1989.”

--It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it. (Upton Sinclair)

Craig at May 17, 2007 03:07 PM [permalink]:

Mehrdad,

There are many. I have a native American English teacher who has been living in Iran for the past 15 years.

You are describing an ex-pat. That isn't what I'm talking about.

Needless to mention it Craig. Hatred, anger, and hostility are evident everywhere in your comments.

Really? And yet, I am the one who had racial slurs and personal attacks directed at him by multiple Iranians in this thread, including you. You even suggested I'm insane. Mind boggling.

I just refer to the response I received from a university professor in Canada a couple of years ago when I was applying for a postgraduate position.

I pointed out in my very first comment that there were an endless supply of journalists and college professors who were willing to volunteer to be hostages. it was the same in Beirut. Look up top...

I mean, regular employees. I know there are journalists and college professors who always love to go to countries where they will be taken hostage, but what about the suit and tie office worker crowd?

See? There it is.

So, since you insulted me, I now return the favor. Either your reading comprehension is very poor (in which case you should go tell your ex-pat English tutor to give you some homework and spank your spoiled little Irani ass) or you have suffer from some sort of mental deficiency.


Craig at May 17, 2007 03:19 PM [permalink]:

Ali,

So nobody needs someone like you to come to Iran to work there, although you are always welcome as a guest and your welfare is guaranteed.

But, you just said it wasn't. Which is it?

I am sure there will be many westerners willing to work in Iran. I am also sure that they will have to be paid a great deal of money (vastly more than they could make at home) before they will do so.

They all suffer from "it can't happen to me" syndrome. Or, they are just that greedy that they are willing to roll the dice in order to go home with a fat bank account. I have no sympathy for such people. And I condemn business enterprises that put their employees in such jeopardy, too. If they want to open branches in Iran that is fine with me, but they should have a "local hires only" policy. Which, they never do. They always send the bulk of the mid level (and up) employees from home. And there is nothing anyone can do about it because there isn't any international law when it comes to business practices. But perhaps there should be, since these hostage issues cause so many international incidents. The Bulgarian nurses in Libya right now, for instance. Libya has nothing to lose, their reputation is already in the gutter. Same with Iran. Iran's rep can't be any worse. That's why a potential "incident" is so likely, as soon as the political situation goes south. If the US attacks Iran how many of those employees will be hostages before the day is out?

AIS at May 17, 2007 05:11 PM [permalink]:

Craig,

I am also of the same opinion as you are. Anyone willing to work in supposed international banking system inside the islamic regime is putting himself and his family in danger. Loud noises to cover this up won't change this fact. You all know of the embassy hostage taking. THere are so many instances to show this it is even silly that I have to mention them here again. Before that there was a big mess when someone opened the a burger shop that had a sign like McDonalds (this is back in the early 90s). The day it was opened the bassij stormed in and arrested anyone who wanted to gothere and shut down this sign fo world zionist capitalism or whatever. Once one fraction of the mafia (known as reformist) invited a group of American business men and women, in the late 90s, their bus was attacked by islamist vigilantes of the other fractions and its wondows broken so they had to cut their trip short and get out. As I said before, just a few years ago, when the new international airport in Tehran was finally inaugurated, on the same day, the revolutionary guard corps stormed in the airport and shut everything down because they didn't like the fact that the contractor was a Turkish company. ...
Thsi oes on and on. they know they can't deny this so they enage in personal attacks.
(I mean, you are dealing with someone who says he HAS to consider the situation in the islamic regime the same as that of Switzerland! or another one who among other faculties is also evidently an oracle who knows what is going to happen wayway in the futre and is so noble he has to defend it against such blasphemies! What do you expect!? :)

Arash said something very correct about trusting a mullah, Khatami, yet again to bring civil society just as Iranian did trust a nother mullha, Khomeini back in 79. It is so true. This is the mode of operation of this system. They alway s try to present a paper copy replica of the real thing before hand when they feel the pressure, be it a "republic", "privatization" (remeber Rafsanjani era?) , "civil society", "democracy"... now it seems they are setting up another one. The question is why? the answer is because of the sanctions. they are wriggling around again pulling out all their tricks to curb this one the best they can.

So I ask , are you going to fall for this again? Or is it not better to support the real cause that is forcing them to perform such clown acts, that is total sanctions, and support it until the end?
For once step out of such pathetic loops before it is too late?

Mehrdad H. at May 17, 2007 08:34 PM [permalink]:

Craig,

Read once again:

...I went with E??? to Esfahan as I was invited to a Stanford alum dinner with a Stanford travel/study group that was visiting Iran for a few days. This was the 3rd time I have attended such an event...

Are these expatriates too?

Reading a text more than once may help you understand your mother language better, BUT, forget about undergoing psychotherapy as it is too late for a descent man of your age!

Mehrdad H. at May 17, 2007 11:33 PM [permalink]:

...and, as for your self-deserved obscene insults, I am very glad that you can't do anything but curse. This is the point you would have better started at first rather than waiting until you get desparately out of reason.

Craig at May 18, 2007 10:40 PM [permalink]:

Hi AIS, enjoyed your comment. Glad to see somebody doesn't completely disagree with me here. You too, Babak. Thanks.

So I ask , are you going to fall for this again? Or is it not better to support the real cause that is forcing them to perform such clown acts, that is total sanctions, and support it until the end?
For once step out of such pathetic loops before it is too late?

Do you really support sanctions? I actually don't. They don't have a very good track record of doing much besides causing a lot of misery. Especially when there are major powers around willing to cheat on them, which I am sure China and Russia would both do when it comes to Iran. What do you think might work? I'm certain a blockade of oil exports and gasoline imports would work in short order - but I haven't even heard anyone talking about that. And a blockade implies use of force.

Craig at May 18, 2007 10:48 PM [permalink]:

Are these expatriates too?

c-o-l-l-e-g-e p-r-o-f-e-s-s-o-r.

And you think Iran should have nuclear reactors? Well, do you!?

and, as for your self-deserved obscene insults

I have no idea what that means. I insulted you in a self-deserved manner?

Anyway, all I said is your English tutor should spank your ass, and that's obviously what you need. Two times. Hard. With a ruler. Even better if she's a Catholic Nun. That's what is wrong with your country. Too many kids who didn't get their asses spanked by Catholic nuns. You could be great, like us, if only you had enough stone faced Catholic nuns. I know the mullahs try to make up the difference, but it's just not the same.

Mehrdad H. at May 18, 2007 11:35 PM [permalink]:

Craig,

I didn't know you can't understand the difference between university alum and a college professor. May be anyone with a university degree is a professor for an illiterate person like you. But even then, what kind of fair poll are you suggesting that in the very first stage it excludes anyone with a university degree, including all his/her family and relatives.

Mehrdad H. at May 18, 2007 11:41 PM [permalink]:

Craig,

"And you think Iran should have nuclear reactors? Well, do you!?"

No, Iran shouldn't have nuclear reactors because those mindboggling illiterates who don't understand the difference between a university graduate and a college professor, can't differeniate between nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons either.

Mehrdad H. at May 18, 2007 11:48 PM [permalink]:

Oh, and as you may better understand it this way:

G-O T-R-E-A-T Y-O-U-R-S-E-L-F CRAIG, N-O-W-!

Mehrdad H. at May 19, 2007 04:22 AM [permalink]:

Youd illiterate grandpa don't need to teach English to a native american who has a BA in English literature from Stanford University.

Mehrdad H. at May 19, 2007 04:40 AM [permalink]:

"I guess I forgot to put "student" on the list of people who were willing and even eager to live a life of danger. I thought that was self-evident."

So, for the next time, remember not to be so sure of something that you are going to admit its inaccuracy as "self-evident" just a few posts ahead.

Babak S at May 19, 2007 02:47 PM [permalink]:

Mehrdad,

Who cares about these silly arguments? The point is, as Ali agrees, there is a considerable risk involved with working in Iran, especially as a foreigner.

Ali,

You are right that having a point is not enough. Here is the thing though: I think we agree that having an open market in banking, in the economy as a whole, is urgently needed. You take the Minister's announcement at face value and say that it must be a sure thing now. This is not true. It would be true in Switzerland, but not in Iran. On a wider scale, in fact, one has to be very careful to make the distinction clear since it is very unlikely that this government and the powerful factions in and out of it would even agree with the statement that a free market is a good thing in the first place. So no consistent program toward opening the market is to be expected.

That being said, indeed if there were to be an open banking market even if most other markets are not, it would still be a good thing. So more power to the guys who work for this end. I'm just afraid it won't happen now and with this governemnt. The "solution" has to involve more basic (economic) reforms before this could happen in any menaingful sense.

AIS at May 19, 2007 07:01 PM [permalink]:

Craig,
I don't liek sanctions either, but i have learnedthe world doesn't go around about my wishes, so i take ita s it comes. It is better to have sanctions upheld by the West even if China and Russia constantly oppose it to having them all feast on the banquet of the Islamic regime together. The economy in Iran is in ruins. A well defined will implemented serious sanction regime by teh West can still cause a lot of wreck and change. (You see all the demonstrations by workers, teachers and so on...)

Gas industry in particulary is so sensitive it can do a lot. yes force might be needed. So what?

Ali Sanaei at May 21, 2007 05:26 PM [permalink]:

nice blog.
well done, keep it on ...

M at May 25, 2007 09:37 PM [permalink]:

Craig,
I have worked with many Italians and French engineers in Iran during 90's. And they were not some crazy guys who wanted to go for adventures. Some of them lived in Iran with their families during their stay.

feri at June 1, 2007 03:32 PM [permalink]:

Mehrdad,

I cannot understand why you are trying so hard to persuade a delusional oppinionated military cuckoo, who had always been told not to think and just obey the orders. Do you really beleive you can have sensible discussion with someone who just know obeying orders ? someone who probabley havenot had a chance to think properly. someone who cannot get the diffrence between professor,student and alums, someone who probabley didn't have a chance to be a real university student which definitely made some impact on him. someone you can really smell having inferiority complex regarding his idea about educated persons.
Let me give you a friendly professional advice.
From his opinion about iranians, I can see splitting mechanism in his ideas, and according to his past social history....Don't even think about treating a delusional person with borderline personality disorder in this age.

about the topic, I think it is a completely specialized issue and talking about it needs expertise and alot of knowledge also academic education in related fields. as I don't have it...NO comment

Ron at June 6, 2007 01:01 AM [permalink]:

Just read the news today, see the story about Esfiani Bakhash, 67 year old American woman visiting her mother in Iran, had her documents stolen by unknown assailants, then they locked her up in the notorious Evian prison. Good luck with those foreign banks!

...hmmm..also in business news...Tel Aviv Stock Exchange hits record highs...again

Sima at June 20, 2007 09:33 PM [permalink]:

Come on guys. This craig guy is probably an old retired marine with a one-dimensional mindest: 0 or 1. There is no 1/2 in his/her vaocab. It is actually a disease that you can see its syndromes here and there, in those who hate the West same as those who hate the Mideast.

Craig, if you have been a marine, and especially a high rank one, and you have leaked your way of thinking toward Iran somewhere that reveals your background, never dare to step close to any border of Iran. Plus, you will not enjoy it anyways, considering the amount of hatred you have accumulated.

Yeah, we only choose not to speak about U.S. when they feel humiliated by a bunch of amatuer terrorists to arrest a 10 year boy (Khader) unendedly. Voices are just loud when a fully funded multidimensional campaign of relplacing Iran's regime with a puppet government by the son of the previous shah.

You craig as a marine are no different than IRGC people. I am telling you craig: your arrogant stubborn 0/1 way of thinking is just like facist IRGC people! And you guys know how to treat each other

Craig at June 26, 2007 05:49 AM [permalink]:

You craig as a marine are no different than IRGC people.

I think you'll find when my brothers get there, that they can cut through the IRGC like a knife through hot butter :)

The question is, will the IRGC even try to fight? Or will they send the Basij out to die in human wave attacks while they disperse? We'll see, won't we.

I am telling you craig: your arrogant stubborn 0/1 way of thinking is just like facist IRGC people! And you guys know how to treat each other

And I really appreciate being told the way of the world by somebody who doesn't even know if "Craig" is a man's or a woman's name! In all honesty, I don't know if Sima is a male or female name, either. But I don't need to know that. I'm wondering why you even commented on this thread at this late date. Iran and the US are going to war. There's no point in arguing these issues anymore.

PS-Events have proven me right. And considering you posted this 5 days ago, you must know that even Iranian-American dual nationals are no longer willing to travel to Iran? You do know that, right? And not even in your wildest fantasy could you still believe a 100% American citizen will be going to Iran any time soon.

Game over. Insert coin.


Mehrdad H. at August 8, 2007 11:16 PM [permalink]:

American softball team in Iran:

http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=117616

Craig at August 10, 2007 01:32 AM [permalink]:

Here's an American who has been living in Iran since 1980:

Former FBI Agent Still in Iran According to Salahuddin

Salahuddin, formerly known as David Belfield, has been living in Iran since carrying out a murder of the Shah of Iran’s former spokesman in Bethesda, Maryland. Belfield, now known as Dawud Salahuddin, confessed to NSNS’s Joe Trento in 1995 (for ABC’s “20-20”) that he killed former Iranian spokesman Ali Akbar Tabatabai after being recruited by Iranian intelligence to carry out a Fatwa issued by the Supreme Iranian Revolutionary Council.

I'd say Levinson has been "living" in Iran for some 6 months too, but that would require me to assume that he is still alive.

The women's softball team is in no danger. They are useful American idiots for the regime to show off to the world.

AmericanWoman at August 10, 2007 02:51 PM [permalink]:

Craig,
I have read all 49 of the comments on this article, 14 of which were made by you. I'm trying to follow your arguement that foreign investors in Iran would be unable to staff their facilites with non-Iranian employees, which you describe specifically as
*regular employees
-- the suit and tie office worker crowd
*poor slobs who go to Iran thinking they might be safe there
*random mid-level technical/professional people (regular corporate types)
*US Marines
You go on to qualify these descriptors by saying

"I am sure there will be many westerners willing to work in Iran. I am also sure that they will have to be paid a great deal of money (vastly more than they could make at home) before they will do so." You expand this statement to include the following categories:
*The insane
*journalists and college professors who always love to go to countries where they will be taken hostage
*a Canadian Photographer
*pigeons
*Those who serve (their) own interests, (and who's interests "do not coincide with mine").
*an ex-pat (???)
*Westerners who are paid a great deal of money (vastly more than they could make at home).
*Those who suffer from "it can't happen to me" syndrome
*Those who are so greedy that they are willing to roll the dice in order to go home with a fat bank account
*nurses
*students
*Women softball players (useful American idiots)
*Catholic Nuns

Craig, I'm puzzled.
The reasons people live and work in countries other than their own, even if (and sometimes because) those countries are dangerous. Not all of them are motivated by money, but it certainly is what makes the mare go, especially here in the Home of the Brave. Surely in your career as a Marine you met more than a few sons of the pioneers, who just wanted an adventure more than a job at the strip mall.

Anyway, I just want to say that my graduate degree was in International Management. Most of my classmates had backgrounds in living and working abroad, either through NPO's such as the Peace Corps, or with multi-national corporations such as those alluded to in Ali's article. Siemens and Mitsubishi come to mind. At that time, when we were all young and relatively unencumbered by responsibilites (other than massive student loan debt), I estimate 75-80% of the student population would have jumped at the chance for a mid-level management position in Iran. Or China, or South America. My thesis focused on countries bordering South Africa, which was as unstable as anywhere else at the time, I have friends and colleages in those contries, and I would have gone to live there with bells on.

Just sayin'.

One more thing, or two actually. You also made the following statements:

"And there is nothing anyone can do about it because there isn't any international law when it comes to business practices. But perhaps there should be, since these hostage issues cause so many international incidents."

"That's what is wrong with your country. Too many kids who didn't get their asses spanked by Catholic nuns."

Am I to understand that you are advocating some kind of central government controls on who employers can and can't hire for specific positions, and which jobs citizens can and can't take based on their county of origin? Secondly, are you advocating corporal punishment by religious fundamentalists... for Iran?


Craig at August 12, 2007 02:16 AM [permalink]:
AmericanWoman, Craig, I'm puzzled. I can see that :P (sorry. you're obviously pulling the "passive aggressive" routine on me, so all bets are off for the tone of my reply) The reasons people live and work in countries other than their own, even if (and sometimes because) those countries are dangerous. That is an incomplete sentence. Possibly caused by your confusion? Well... I don't see a way to reply to it. There isn't a complete idea expressed there. Not all of them are motivated by money, but it certainly is what makes the mare go, especially here in the Home of the Brave. I disagree. In my personal experience, European expats living and working in foreign countries are far more common than Americans doing the same thing. Surely in your career as a Marine you met more than a few sons of the pioneers, who just wanted an adventure more than a job at the strip mall. Nope. I met one American college professor. But he worked for the US Navy, offering education aboard ship. I'm not sure what his deal was, I never had the opportunity to talk to him. US Marines don't get to take classes aboard ship, they get to sit in the berthing compartments stacked 4 high, waiting for the word. Anyway, I just want to say that my graduate degree was in International Management. Most of my classmates had backgrounds in living and working abroad, either through NPO's such as the Peace Corps That's not the same thing. I encountered a lot of American (and European) humanitarian workers in my time in the Marines. We even escorted them, in the field, on a number of occasions. They never struck me as "expats" - they didn't live and work amongst the locals. We Marines spent a lot more time "living and working" amongst the locals than they did. Would you call US military "expats" as well? or with multi-national corporations such as those alluded to in Ali's article. OK. Siemens and Mitsubishi come to mind. Do you think you are telling me something I don't already know? I've worked for multi-nationals for over 10 years, now. What does any of this have to do with Iran? At that time, when we were all young and relatively unencumbered by responsibilites (other than massive student loan debt), I estimate 75-80% of the student population would have jumped at the chance for a mid-level management position in Iran. Students? Promoted to mid-level management? On what planet? Well, when it comes to ACTUAL employees of multi-nationals, I've got to tell you I don't know a single person who'd be willing to work in Iran. That's 0%, in case you didn't take math classes while you were studying management. Or China, or South America. Oh, I see. All countries are the same. foreign! :P My thesis focused on countries bordering South Africa, which was as unstable as anywhere else at the time, I have friends and colleages in those contries, and I would have gone to live there with bells on. Ok. Good for you. How many Americans had those governments been kidnapping and holding hostage? Or are we still on the "all countries are the same" phase? Just sayin'. Yeah, you like that sayin stuff. Am I to understand that you are advocating some kind of central government controls on who employers can and can't hire for specific positions, and which jobs citizens can and can't take based on their county of origin? Yep. I am advocating that when the US government puts a travel ban on a country, that it is a criminal offense for American civilians to voluntarily tra ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
reza at August 28, 2007 03:37 AM [permalink]:

I think it may be a good idea for us, Iranians, to tell non-Iranians how safe it is to live in Iran, but we should be careful not to believe it ourselves. I really think if we tell a "truth" (the lie-ish kind) too pationately and forcefully, we may eventually believe it ourselves. Quite dangerous.

And here is two cents woth of babble from me about safety in Iran: if one wants to exercise the rights one has in the US (the right to publicly criticize the rulers, kissing a partner in public, ...), Iran is quite a dangerous place.

Mehrdad H. at September 3, 2007 08:17 AM [permalink]:

Journey To Iran:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7p76S_v_m4&mode=related&search=

plz, watch all 12 parts.

Mehrdad H. at September 3, 2007 08:19 AM [permalink]:

Journey To Iran:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7p76S_v_m4&mode=related&search=

Plz, watch all 12 parts.