In the 2011 Spring issue of Harvard International Review an article I co-wrote with Dr. Fariborz Ghadar makes the case that since the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the country’s economic position vis a vis its neighbors has deteriorated. For example, whereas in 1974 Iran’s per capita income was 50% higher than Turkey’s, today Turks enjoy a per capita income double that of Iranians. Qatar, Iran’s neighbor to the south is today the leading exporter of LNG whereas Iran should have captured the natural gas markets of Europe and Asia since it started the implementation of a global export strategy in 1976.
When Ayatollah Khomeini declared that “economics is for donkeys” he doomed Iran’s economic growth and as a result lowered the standard of living for all Iranians. If one assumes an average economic growth rate of 10% per annually since 1979, today Iran would have been a member of G8. Mixing religion and politics has cost Iran and stifled the ingenuity of this creative people to attain a status commensurate with their natural abilities. Iran may have oil and gas but its natural resource are its people — the clerics main crime against Iran has been to stifle the creative abilities of the Iranian people.