Iran growing ever weaker

David Goldman:
Iran is dying, and no one knows it better than Vladimir Putin, who worked successfully to raise Russia’s fertility rate, unlike Iran’s theocrats, who have failed to persuade Iranians to have children.

Russia’s relationship to the only Shi’ite state of significance is less an alliance than a dalliance, motivated by Moscow’s fear of Sunni radicalism and its desire to establish a strategic beachhead in the Middle East.

But Iran is a depreciating asset whose value will disappear within a 20-year horizon. The question is not whether, but at what price Russia will trade it away.

A few salient facts clarify the picture.

First, Iran may well become the first country in the world that will get old before it gets rich. Its fertility rate (the number of live births over the lifetime of an average woman) fell from 7 in 1979 to perhaps 1.7 today.

That produced an enormous generation of people now in their 20s to 40s who have very few children. As this generation ages, the proportion of Iranians over the age of 60 will soar from about 7% today to around 40% by mid-century.

Other countries face an aging crisis, but with ten times the per capita income: Iran’s nominal GDP per capita is only US$5,300, compared with US$56,000 for the United States, for example.No poor country can care for an elderly population comprising two-fifths of the total. Iran will undergo an economic disaster unprecedented in history. That is baked in the cake, and nothing its government can do will make much different at this late stage.

Iranians know their world is coming to an end and behave as if there is no tomorrow (which, in their case, there isn’t). As I reported last year:
The number of marriages has fallen by 20% since 2012. “In Iran, the customary marriage age range is 20-34 for men and 15-29 for women … 46% of men and 48% of women in those age ranges remain unmarried,” according to the national statistics agency. So-called white marriage, or cohabitation out of wedlock, is so common and controversial that the regime banned a women’s magazine [in 2015] for reporting on it.
Alongside the decline in marriage, a quarter of Iran’s married couples report that they cannot conceive children. A possible factor aggravating the infertility could be epidemic rates of untreated venereal disease, according to Iranian researchers, pointing to a deeper shift in social customs. Iran’s government believes that the Shia practice of “temporary marriage” is the culprit.
There is more.

The "temporary marriage" can be as short as 30 minutes.  In other words, it is a form of Islamic prostitution. 

The people outside the government in Iran are extremely unhappy with their lot.  The Mullah's rule has kept them in a constant state of depression for decades.  The government has most of the country's wealth under its control and squanders it on support for proxy fighters like Hezballah, Hamas, and the Houthis.  The people know this and they now chant death to these groups rather than the old standby of "death to America."


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