On June 18th Iranís parliament approved a new law (148 votes in favour and 5
against), that sentences to death anyone who is involved in any way in the production
A Draconian law.
In order to become law, the bill must now be approved by the Guardian Council,
which is the principal Iranian political and religious authority. There are few
chances that the bill will be rejected, considered the wave of moralism which
is pervading Iran, especially since president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power.
The bill approved by Parliament closes the scandal that arose last year, after
a videotape was circulated in which the popular Iranian actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi
had sexual intercourse with a man.
The video was circulated first on the internet and then on the DVD black market
and has been seen all over the country. Ms. Ebrahimi became the subject of an
investigation which is still going on. When the law will be passed, the situation
for Ms. Ebrahimi, as well as for others, will become even more difficult. The
actress always denied being the woman in the film and the man, who is suspected
of releasing the tape, cannot be found. Keeping public attention focused on this
is the only thing that matters for Ahmadinejadís governement, always busy in organizing
events with the greatest media impact. In this way both national and international
public attention is diverted from Iranís real big problem: the complete failure
of the governmentís economic politics led by previous Teheranís mayor.
On Wednesday, June 27th, for the first time in the history of the worldís fourth
major oil producer country, fuel has been rationed. This measure has set off Teheranís
citizens and not only them. The evening before this measure came into force, a
group of young people from the capital assaulted and set fire to twelve gas stations
in Pounak, one of the poorest neighbourhoods of the city and one of the strongholds
from which populist Ahmadinejad started his climb to power, thundering against
the corrupt representatives of the Islamic Republic, whom he would have driven
out to star working in favour of poor people. However, he hasnít done anything,
and while Iranians are experiencing one of the worst economic crisis of their
history, he announces fuel rationing. According to this measure citizens can buy
only 100 litres of fuel per month for their cars. In the hours preceding the enforcement
of this measure, long lines formed at Iranís gas stations, while the black market
was running wild, with a litre of fuel being sold 7 times more than its normal
Hardline politicsí crisis.
Ahmadinejad presented his decision as ďan act of courage from the governmentĒ,
but by rationing fuel what the government is really aiming at is to stop imports
and therefore to eliminate the menace of a harsher embargo from the United Nations
in response to Teheran nuclear program. Iranians however canít take it any longer,
and in the last months dissent towards Ahmadinejad has dramatically increased,
especially among young people. Protestersí slogans yesterday were all against
the president, some even instigating his murder. Even those who think Iran has
a right to develop a peaceful nuclear program are tired of the presidentís hardline.
Most of all Ahmadinejadís extremism doesnít appeal to the masses anymore: they
are still in poverty and they are witnessing the total failure of governmentís
economic measures. At the same time there is growing fear of a possible armed
attack guided by the United States. Sometimes it seems that the president would
like this to happen, as a way to bring the country together against invasion.
Attilio de Castris