Is Iran headed for a 90?s era tech and real estate bubble about to burst, or are UN sanctions against Iran a simple failure? The Tehran Stock Exchange today hit a record high. Their main index has shot up close to four percent over the last 48 hours with a value on paper totaling an estimated $80 billion.
Most of the growth is being spurred by the Iranian government itself. The trading that is the main cause of the surge is being done by state-run institutions and firms attempting to privatize public sector industries. By trading off stock they are slowly accomplishing this end, though where it will lead remains unclear. By selling off state firms to the private sector, the government aims to raise close to $12 billion in capital.
This may be the mullahs’ rainy day fund for if and when sanctions against the country get any worse, or it may be used to purchase more sophisticated weaponry for defense of its newly functional nuclear reactor in Bushehr.
In other news, the Iranian government announced that it is developing an alternative to Google it calls “Oh Lord” which will restrict search results to government approved listings in order to protect its populace from dangerous, Western material that may corrupt the minds of its citizens beyond repair. Dr. Mehrdad Khonsari, a former government diplomat, had this to say about the project:
“There are two things going on. One is the fact that they are anxious to be able to filter any electronic communications in any conceivable way that they can, or at least to scare people into believing they are capable of doing this, so that they enter the process of self censorship. Another is to portray this image that they are punching above their weight in trying to convince people that they are able to do things that they are not.”
An Iranian government official claimed that the search engine is simply designed to provide more relevant local results to Iranian web surfers.
“Oh Lord” is set to debut in 2012, though Iran currently lacks the technical staff to reach that deadline. In the meantime, its citizenry remains open to Western infiltration until “Oh Lord” arrives ready for search queries.