In any country, data and statistics play an important role in assessing and monitoring the status of its social, cultural, and economic development. In the era of data-driven decision-making, one of the main duties of any government is to provide easy access to official data and statistics, especially in regard to the government’s economic and financial actions.
This is important to provide a healthy environment for everyone in the fields of education, economics, and health, among others.
Iran, under the rule of the Iranian regime, is one of the ratifying countries of the United Nations (UN) International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Under this covenant, the regime is obliged to recognize the right of the Iranian people to access government data and statistics, and the right to oversee data collections and reports by governmental and non-governmental entities.
At present, the regime is withholding its data and has left its statistical system underdeveloped in order to allow its leaders and officials free rein for corruption and embezzlement. There is no independent data collection channel in Iran, which absolves the possibility in outsiders reporting on the regime’s actions.
The only entity responsible for statistics is the regime’s Statistical Center of Iran (SCI), which of course is controlled by the corrupted people.
The conflicts of interest, and the provided statistics by the regime’s different entities, have created much discomfort and pain and are endangering the lives of the Iranian people. The latest example is the water stress and crises in many different parts of the country.
Deliberate conflicting statistics, besides the regime’s special priorities, have resulted in ineffective policies in water management. As a result, many rivers and lakes have completely vanished from the country’s map. Currently, no one in Iran trusts the regime’s statistics, and this has generated a sense of deep suspicion among the people.
In recent years, many reports about conflicting statistics and their devastating results have been reported by the regime’s media, in fear of the people’s outrage. The latest drama that has been exposed is the unbelievable corruption scandal involving the Mobarakeh Steel company. This company has been found to have embezzled more than $5.25 billion.
The Mobarakeh Steel company’s financial violation is not the first example of the corrupt structure of state-owned companies, and it won’t be the last. It also highlights the vague and non-transparent mechanism of the state economy, which provides the possibility of financial violation and deviation by denying transparency.
One of the most famous cases which have created the ground for such corruption is the issue of the pricing market. The regime has created a multi-currency market, and it is natural that corruption and rent-seeking can easily occur in such an environment, while there are no accurate statistics or supervision of the cash flow in the country.
In 2009, Iran joined the ‘United Nations Convention against Corruption’. Recently, the regime’s Ministry of Economy claimed that the financial statements of state-owned companies had been published on the so-called Kodal website, but despite this, no positive results have been obtained in the field of transparency.
The ranking of the Transparency International Organization, since 2012, shows that the regime has been in the third decile and there has been no noticeable change in the field of the regime’s transparency.