Sajjad Paddam, Director General of Social Insurance at Iran’s Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor, and Social Welfare, raised the possibility of selling Kish and Qeshm islands to provide for the pensions of the country’s retirees. Whether these remarks were made intentionally or unintentionally is anyone’s guess. However, this does shed light on another aspect of the plans currently under review by regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
“We sacrificed 300,000 martyrs (during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war) so that we wouldn’t lose an inch of our land. However, we may reach a point where we have to sell Kish, Qeshm, and even Khuzestan province to pay for the retirees’ pensions,” Paddam said.
Throughout Iran’s history, the people have been victim to numerous betrayals and wrong policies by the country’s rulers. However, everyone thought that those days were long gone, and we would not be witness to such developments in this era. The current regime ruling Iran, however, has crossed many lines in the past four decades, proving that it knows no boundaries in plundering the Iranian people and embezzlement.
The statement made by Paddam about the possibility of selling Kish and Qeshm islands to provide for retiree pensions has sparked controversy and criticism in Iran. Many Iranians see this as a clear sign of the government’s inability to manage the country’s finances and meet its obligations to its citizens.
Moreover, the sale of Kish and Qeshm islands is a sensitive issue in Iran. Kish Island is a popular tourist destination and a free trade zone, while Qeshm Island is a strategic location in the Persian Gulf and home to a large number of Iranian military bases.
Furthermore, the statement has been seen as a reflection of the broader economic crisis in Iran, which has been exacerbated by years of mismanagement and corruption. Iran’s economy has been struggling with high inflation, unemployment, and a currency crisis.
Iran’s history of incompetent governments
When Iran’s new generation studies their history, they feel regret and sorrow for the auctioning off of the country’s lands that they love.
It has always been incompetent and selfish governments that have either sold a portion of the country for a small price or handed over parts of Iran to foreigners to maintain their power and position. Every Iranian is familiar with such shameful treaties that saw Iran losing large swathes of its lands: Golestan, Turkmenchay, 1919, Paris, Saadabad, the separation of the Mount Ararat…. However, it is so bitter and unpleasant for them that they rarely talk about it.
The Pahlavi dynasty mocked the Qajar dynasty for giving Azerbaijan and Armenia to Russia. Beneath the fake cries of nationalism, however, Shah Reza Pahlavi gave away Mount Ararat to Turkey, Kurdish villages and part of Arvand Rud to Iraq, and surrendered Firuzkuh in northern Khorasan to the then Soviet Union.
Despite praising his unified army for years, Reza Shah’s military could not withstand an attack by British forces during World War for even an hour. Russian and British forces occupied all of Iran without any resistance, reached the center of Tehran, and forced Reza Shah—who had pledged his alliance to Hitler—into exile.
His son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, also engaged in selling parts of Iran and bestowed various concessions to other countries to strengthen his hold on power. To cover up this disgrace, he boasted: “I took three islands in exchange!” Now, under the shadow of the mullahs’ rule, this bitter tale is not just relegated to the past.
Selling the homeland again
The legal status of the Caspian Sea and Tehran’s embarrassing retreat from the right to classify the Caspian Sea was so questionable that even the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry was surprised about it.
What was Khamenei’s goal with this blatant selling of the country? To obtain Russia’s support in international politics, especially to guarantee support and veto power for the regime’s nuclear program in the United Nations Security Council. However, the “selling” of the Caspian Sea was not the end of this shameful policy.
The signing a 25-year agreement with China and discussions related to the Persian Gulf showed that the regime is selling the country to obtain “Eastern and Western” support. Regime officials have never been transparent when it comes to this agreement. And it is not clear how far they have gone and how much of Iran’s water and lands they have sold to foreign countries to gain political support.
The posting of foreign flags raised in various parts of Iran, occasionally seen on social media, are immediately denied by state media. However, these may actually be signs of the very concessions that the mullahs’ regime is busy providing.
What is the main problem?
The nature of the mullahs’ regime has its roots in medieval thinking, which is why it will never be able to adapt to the modern era. This is a general rule that applies to all economic, political, and social fields. Therefore, all of its patterns of relations with the outside world are derived from the same reactionary and backward thinking.
As a result, on the one hand, the regime has to show its stability by resorting to forceful repression and execution. On the other hand, Tehran takes the fastest and most direct methods possible. This means methods such as selling off national assets and wealth.
In foreign policy, every shameful act is taken to balance the shaky rule and maintain the mullahs’ control, even if only for a short period.
For such a government, talking about “the future,” “the wealth of future generations,” and “patriotism” is meaningless.
Just as regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini pursued a long and devastating war with Iraq; just as the regime stood firm to continue the war even after Iraqi forces withdrew behind international borders; just as the Revolutionary Guards sold Iran’s water, lands, forests, and mines; and just as Chinese fishing boats are now busy bottom trawling the Persian Gulf and taking away nearly all living creatures; the plundering of people’s money in various financial systems, funds, and banks in the country has become so pervasive that regime officials shed light on the possible sale of Iranian islands.
The question here is whether these islands have already been sold, like other national assets and their public digestion has already begun.