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Iran and The Global Trends 2025 Report

By: Meir Javedanfar

22/11/2008

Global Trends 2025, a new report written by the US National Intelligence Council (NIC) was released on Friday 21st of November. The full version of the report makes some interesting readings about Iran. Here is an excerpt about Iran’s demographic and economic outlook:

Two additional demographic near-certainties are apparent: first, despite low fertility, Iran’s population of 66 million will grow to around 77 million by 2025. Second, by then, a new youth bulge (an echo produced by births during the current one) will be ascending— but in this one, 15-to-24 year olds will account for just one-sixth of those in the working age group compared to one third today.

Some experts believe this echo bulge signals a resurgence of revolutionary politics.

Others speculate that, in the more educated and developed Iran of 2025, young adults will find career and consumption more attractive than extremist politics. Only one aspect of Iran’s future is sure: its society will be more demographically mature than ever before and strikingly different than its neighbors”.

Although the rise of no other state can equal the impact of the rise of such populous states as China and India, other countries with potentially high-performing economies—Iran, Indonesia, and Turkey, for example—could play increasingly important roles on the world stage and especially for establishing new patterns in the Muslim world”.

Analysis: This shows that Iran’s falling birthrate, from more than six children per woman in 1985 to less than two today, will reduce the burden on Iran’s economy. This will lead to more jobs being available, and less mouths to feed and to care for, by the government.

This is good news. However, I believe that lack of investment in Iran’s non oil exports, very little investment in renewable sources of energy and falling levels of investment in education will mount serious challenges, and could reduce the chances for realization of the report’s forecast about Iran.

The lack of infrastructure in renewable energy alone is one major factor. Billions will have to be spent on research and implementation of sources (eg. solar, wind), and more on changing Iran’s energy transportation infrastructure. Furthermore, with forecasts about a fall in oil income, Iran will need massive investment in its non oil sector, in industries which will provide the country with competitive advantage over its neighbours. This is not forthcoming in any meaningful manner.

16 years is not a long time in making such important changes. Unless Iran turns its economy around in the next few years and improves its relations with the West, it could in fact lose its clout in the Muslim world and in the Middle East to Persian Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Turkey. For now, I don’t see any positive signs on the horizon for Iran’s economy, or relations with the West.


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Posted on : Nov 22 2008
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Posted under Iran-economy |

One Person has left comments on this post

Apr 23, 2010 - 05:04:12
Iranian said:

I do not agree with some of the claimed projections of the writer. For example the renewable energy resources. Iran today is one of heavy weight builders of hydroelectric dams in the world. Infact by 2010, Iran had some 12,000 MWh of hydroelectric capacity which with dams currently under construction or under study is to become 42,000 MWh by 2025. compare it with total electricity generation capacity of United Kingdom today with a similar population to Iran of 90,000 MWh. In 2009, Iran had a total capacity of 53,000 MWh and is adding 5,000 every year, which by 2025 should make Iran the electric hub of the region, with 120,000 MWh specially taking into account that Iran intends to export a large amount to neighbouring countries, as well as providing the energy for export oriented manufacturing. Iran also intends to produce 23,000 MWh of electricity by nuclear means. About other renewables, Iran already has made two solar power plants with one of them being unique as its the world’s first combined cycle solar natural gas plant, and is currently the 8th largest solar power plant in the world. All despite the fact that Iran is under SANCTIONS. Eg, Iran has one of the fastest growth rate in wind power installations, which caused United States to pressure Denmark and stop their company to provide parts for wind farms in Iran. Iran responded by developing their own national turbines and the 44% growth rate in wind power did not stop. Same thing about geothermal. Iran did not have a single geothermal plant and did not have the tech necessary to develop it too. They went to Russians and were turned down. Iran’s minster of energy went to Japan for technology and was turned down. Then they went to UNDP, there United Nations introduced them to Newzealand, who came to Iran and were about to install a geothermal plant when United States put pressure and Newzealanders left. Iran went again to UNDP and they introduced Iranian delegation to Iceland. Icelander engineers came to Iran, started work on a geothermal plant in Meshkinshahr in Ardabil, but the same thing with USA happened again and they left. Iran took up the project itself, and developed technologies by themselves so much so that in 2009, they installed their first geothermal plant themselves.
Iran is no more interested in buying things, they are more interested in developing it themselves. This is not surprising. The author says about falling level of education, which is not true. Iran is becoming more and more scientific. Infact economy is not in the concern of the government’s long term plans. All economic plannings happen in Iran on short term programs, the reason is that Iran is making a sacrifice. Iran is basically after science and technology. They believe that even if economy is run efficiently because of investments in technical fields this will have a good effect in long term on economy too. By making economy based on knowledge and its generation rather than auditing and savings, Iran hopes to make a huge reserve of human capital who can take care of themselves even if the government has gone bankrupt. This kind of planning which has been going on since the end of Iran-Iraq war has caused some economic turbulance but has propped Iran into having the world’s fastest growth rate in science and technology despite every effort by USA to stop scientific progress of Iran, from killing and kidnapping of Iranian scientists to international intimidation/threats and shipments of opium into Iran. What Iran has realized and the reason that counties like Turkey and Saudi are not even in the league to compete with Iran is that, Iran is no longer after economic balance or simple trade. Iranians want it even bigger. They want to be a major scientific and technological force competing with EU and USA. They are modelling their economy not after Saudis or Singapore, they want to invent and sell the invention. That is why they are so much after prime technologies like nuclear and space. And they want to become a major military, ideological, economic and technological force on a global level.

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