Freedom Spotlight: IRAN

Here’s a quick look at how Iran is
doing on several key freedom indices:

Corruption Perceptions Index 2009 – Transparency International
The CPI ranks countries based on their level of perceived public-sector corruption.
Ranking: 168/180; 2008: 141/180; Change: (-27)

Index of Economic Freedom 2009 – Heritage Foundation
The study ranks countries based on trade, labour, business and investment freedoms as well as property rights, government size and freedom from corruption.
Ranking: 168/179; 2008: 151/179; Change: (-17)

Press Freedom Index 2009 – Reporters Without Borders
The index ranks countries based on the freedom extended to journalists operating there, whether domestic or foreign.
Ranking: 172/175; 2008: 166/175; Change: (-6)

Looking on the positive side, um… well…
at least they have the internet…
for now
and they can’t possibly drop six spots on next year’s Press Freedom Index!

The Scoop…
Iranians experience the same sort of lower-level graft and corruption that can be found in other states of the region.

More concerning, Iran offers its public limited visibility into the dealings (fiscal and otherwise) of its local, regional and national governments.

This same lack of transparency is also evident in its key industries, a growing number of which are being operated by high-ranking members or former members of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The country’s media are variously mitigated in their coverage of internal and international events by self-censorship, government ownership or control, influence of the clergy, or even stern warnings from officials of the government or the Bassij — the multi-million member Islamic students paramilitary group often charged with local crowd control and dress code enforcement.

Foreign and domestic reporters have been arrested for investigating government activities and covering news events, most recently during the civil disobedience that followed the 2009 Presidential elections, the results of which many agree were pre-determined by the government itself.

The country’s main source of revenue comes from oil and gas exports, which are primarily nationalised. Most of the boon dollars from high oil prices in 2006-08 were ploughed into fruitless subsidies and a quickly expanding military complex.

Economic diversification is somewhat limited. Foreign investment is slow in coming due to international financial sanctions and concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. This provides fewer (and weaker) investment opportunities for Iranians (and others) to invest in Iranian businesses.

Unfortunately, they are also trending in the wrong direction on all indices.


More bad news: US State Department report on Religious Freedom in Iran.

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