Fariborz Rais Dana, a left-wing economist and critic of the ongoing subsidy reform in Iran, was arrested, around midnight, on Saturday (28 Azar). The reason for his arrest was not announced, the authorities reportedly saying only that Rais Dana was being taken for “questioning.” Nasser Zarafshan, Rais Dana’s lawyer, says that “it’s not clear where Mr. Rais Dana was taken to.” According to Rais Dana’s wife Azadeh Forghani, his personal computer and some of his CDs were also confiscated.
Rais Dana’s arrest happened shortly after his interview with BBC Persian on Saturday, in which he said, among other things: “Mr. Ahmadinejad’s administration avoided shock therapy, opting for magic therapy. Gradually they removed subsidies, little by little, while pouring some money into people’s bank accounts, making use of the money illusion of deprived people.” In the same interview, Rais Dana also characterized “the policies put into effect by Mr. Ahmadinejad’s administration” as Messrs. Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami’s “hearts’ desire”: “All those administrations would have loved to do this, too, but they didn’t have the power of the system behind them.”
Activists have organized a Facebook campaign to free Rais Dana: <www.facebook.com/pages/kmpyn-azady-dktr-frybrz-ryys-dana/115801665157069> (which links to a petition for Rais Dana at <www.gopetition.com/petition/41516/sign.html>).
Yoshie Furuhashi is editor of MRZine. See, also, Kevan Harris, “Pseudo-Privatization in the Islamic Republic: Beyond the Headlines on Iran’s Economic Transformation”; Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, “Goodbye to Energy Subsidies, Hello to Price Controls?”; and “Rais Dana Was Jailed So That the Prices Can Be Liberated” (a statement issued by a group of leftist activists in Iran).