A third of the Iranian economy is controlled by Islamic charities.
These were formed in the 1980s, when the new revolutionary government
(dominated by clerics) seized the enormous assets of the royal family, and many
of the monarchs friends and associates. These charities, which are actually
conglomerates, do not pay taxes, and answer to no one. They are run for the
benefit of the senior clerics who "oversee" them. The charities are
corrupt, inefficient and throw their weight around. The companies the charities
control pay their workers poverty wages and often turn out shoddy products.
Competing firms are often forced to sell out to the charities. The charities
have their own armed militia, plus access to police and government sponsored
militias. With all this firepower, and the belief that they are on a mission
from God, the clerics running the government, and much of the economy, don't
pay a lot of attention to Iranians complaining of poor pay, few jobs and little
4, 2007: The head of Lebanese terror group Hizbollah boasted of the support he
receives from Iran. Officially, this is not supposed to be the case. But when
you're in love, who needs secrets?
1, 2007: Iraq has closed some border crossings with Iran, and Kurdish military
units up north are being sent to the Iranian border. The Iranians are not happy
with the autonomous Kurdish state in northern Iraq, and are sending commandos
and political operatives into the Kurdish territory, in an effort to cause some
trouble. While the Kurds are Sunnis, they belong to a more laid back sect of
Sunni Islam, and are not much into anti-Shia religious hatred. Further south,
the Shia dominated Iraqi government is trying to stop more Iranian agents and
assets from entering the country, to support pro-Iranian Iraqi Shia political
Israel, Palestinian Fatah gunmen raided the Hamas controlled Islamic university
in Gaza, and arrested seven Iranians. Another Iranian committed suicide. Some
of the captured Iranians are believed to be military trainers. Iran has long
been a major financial backer of Hamas.
31, 2007:Reports keep coming out of Iran about North Korean missile
experts coming, and going, along with air freight shipments of ballistic
30, 2007:After discovering that surplus F-14 jet fighter parts were
making their way to Iran, the U.S. government banned sale of the parts. The
U.S. retired the last of its F-14s last year, but Iran still has several dozen,
which it received in the 1970s, before the Islamic revolution. By smuggling in
needed spare parts, Iran has managed to keep a few of the F-14s operational.
When the U.S. retired its F-14 fleet, all the spare parts became surplus, and
were auctioned off. Buyers were not supposed to export the parts, but some did.
The money is good, as the Iranian arms smuggling operation has been out there
for over twenty years. The Iranians have a reputation for paying top dollar for
what they want.
28, 2007:Government officials openly boasted of how Russian support
helped Iran resist pressure from the U.S. (to stop building nuclear weapons and
interfering in Iraq.)