Post #8

This semester is now coming to a close, causing me to reflect on the past guest lectures I’ve had the opportunity to listen. All of the speakers this semester opened my eyes to issues and point of views that I would not have been exposed to if it was not for this course.

 

With that being said, a few in particular stood out to me.

 

Sherry Mariea

Mariea, from the Trulaske College of Business, gave my favorite lecture of the semester. She’s a passionate, intelligent woman and I think the world needs more women like Mariea. She is an advocate for gender equality and provided a unique perspective. For someone so passionate about women’s rights, she does not identify herself as a feminist. It was interesting to hear her reasoning for such, and found myself agreeing with her in many ways.

One story that she told that I loved was when she was beginning early on in her career as a lawyer out at a restaurant. Beforehand, a male co-worker had called her “honey”, a sexist remark he would never make toward a male co-worker. While out one evening, she saw the man and his wife. He called her over to their table and introduced her to his wife as the one that was complaining that he called her “honey”. His wife then told Mariea that she had been waiting for years for him to call her honey, brushing off the matter jokingly. Mariea gave other examples of past gender discrimination in her life and praised her husband for accepting her as an equal partner in their relationship.

Mariea presented to the class the issues that many women around the world are facing such as child marriage, gender mutilation and access to proper, higher education. Her passion for this topic was evident in her presentation and it was very engaging to the class. I would love the chance to meet with Mariea again and discuss these important issues.

 

Debra Mason

As a student in the Missouri School of Journalism, I enjoyed Debra Mason’s presentation. I heard a similar presentation of hers in my Cross-Cultural Journalism course last semester. However, this presentation had brand new data from this past year which was interesting to observe any changes.
The topic that Mason presented on is very important, as religion is a topic that is important to many people and influences their decision making, but is rarely discussed in media. By emphasizing the importance of understanding religious diversity and the dynamics of those that identify themselves as religious and those that don’t, Mason covered a broad range of topics that are important in the media.

I found her lecture to be informative, especially to non-journalism majors, as they can understand the need for a general understanding of religious knowledge. As a journalist, I know based off Mason’s lecture, that I need to focus more on comprehending the complexities of religion in America and globally.

The data Mason presented was compelling and surprising at times. For example, I was surprised at the increasing amount of people that identify themselves as not having any religious affiliation, which is different from atheists. It was evident to the class that Mason is extremely knowledgable.

Mason presented a few issues that journalists are facing, that the general public is not aware of. Since there has been a decline in newspaper subscriptions and advertisements, resources in newsrooms have been drastically reduced. Journalists are over-worked as many jobs have been eliminated to compensate for the lack of income. There is also little to no background training in religion for journalists, who are expected to cover a wide range of religions and get the facts right for each one. The AP Stylebook provides a quick guide for journalists to world religions and their terms to assist journalists with writing, but this at times does not suffice and can cause journalists to avoid the topic in general.

 

Iran

This semester has given me the opportunity to explore the nation of Iran. I entered the semester not knowing anything really concrete about Iran. After hours of research, I now have a greater understanding and respect for the Iranian people and their culture. However, it was difficult to find sources with a Middle-Eastern perspective. One that I found to be one of the better ones, is the Middle East Eye. Most news sources and articles are written from a Western perspective, making it difficult to truly gain insight about life in Iran. It was difficult at first to seriously analyze a culture so different from American culture, but it pushed me to critically think in ways I had not before. One of my favorite posts I wrote about Iran was the climate and pollution issues in Iran. I also was challenged when I researched women’s issues in Iran, as they are plentiful. It was difficult for me to understand some of their policies and oppression of women, as their culture is so different than ours. I gained insight to life as an everyday citizen of a city like Tehran, where the pollution is so bad that millions of people are forced to wear a mask to go outside everyday.

Overall, writing about Iran this semester helped me to gain insight on the people, culture, history, government and environment in Iran which has given me a greater understanding of the diverse range of cultures and nations we have in the world. I can now say I am a better global citizen because of the global issues I have been exposed to not only in this course, but those that the Iranian people are facing. As I continue on with my college career, I will continue to expand my knowledge of other cultures and maintain a knowledge of current global affairs.

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Post #7 Human Trafficking

Every 30 seconds, a human being is sold.

Every 30 seconds, a daughter, sister, brother, mother, cousin or friend is sold into the atrocities of the world of human trafficking.

This statistic is the driving force for countless organizations, nations and individuals that are working endlessly to combat this form of slavery.

Human Trafficking in Iran

The United States’ Trafficking in Persons Report of 2016 reported Iran a Tier 3- the lowest ranking. The report further explains that Iran is a hub for human trafficking of women and children for the entire region including Afghanistan, the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates and Europe.

“Iran is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.”

U.S Department of State

While there has been an increase in efforts to halt human sex trafficking, there has been an increase in Iran for the past several years. Iran has had previous recognition for its negligence in dealing with human trafficking. In 2006, the US Department of State also placed Iran at the bottom of a list comprising of 12 countries that are not considered to have taken the necessary measures to stop this atrocious trade. This is especially prevalent in major cities such as Tehran and Tabriz. Not only are their teenage girls and women being sold and transported through Iran for sex, but also young children are kidnapped by organized crime groups and sold for labor.  These children, who may be as young as 3, are coerced through physical and sexual abuse and drug addiction; reportedly many are purchased for as little as $150. These crime groups are destroying a portion of the future of Iran by committing these atrocities against children- placing them in the worst conditions imaginable for any human in the most crucial years for a child’s development. It is reported that Iran currently has 200,000 Iranian children living on streets, and half of them are thought to be Afghan child refugees. With that being said, 200,000 children are denied the most basic rights not only for children, but just for humans in general. It is inhumane to say the least.

According to the Trafficking in Persons Report, the Iranian government was unresponsive and inefficient in dealing with the ongoing human slavery crisis. The government did not report anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts and was reportedly complicit in trafficking crimes during the year. Iranian law does not prohibit all forms of trafficking.

The only form of prohibition is the 2004 Law on Combatting Human Trafficking. This legislation was adopted on July 18, 2004. The Law prohibits trafficking in persons through use of threats, force, coercion, abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability of the victim for purposes of prostitution, removal of organs, slavery, or forced marriage.  While this law is in place, it needs to be enforced more by the government. However, there is some speculation within the media and the NGO’s in Iran that some government officials may be a part of the large population that purchases sex. Their lack of enforcement as well as general repressive culture toward women leads to a culture that not only tolerates this kind of oppression, but promotes it from the leadership down to the human traffickers.

Born Free

Born Free, an article by Sarah Mendelson, explains global policies being created in the effort to halt human trafficking, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Sustainable Development Goals

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The 17 goals of the Sustainable Development initiative. 

The Sustainable Development Goals are a UN initiative and is compromised of 17 targets. The targets focus on ending long standing global issues such as hunger, poverty and education as well as infrastructure improvements.

As Mendelson explains Goal No. 5 focuses on gender equality and women’s rights, calling for ending violence among women as well as female genital mutilation and child marriage. The goal mentions human trafficking, as it disproportionately affects women and girls, since 70 per cent of all victims detected worldwide are female. Goal No. 8 mentions stricter regulations for child labor, as well as promoting “sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all,” (Mendelson 4).

While the goals do address human trafficking and other issues correlated with it, I feel as if there is not a great importance placed on it compared to other issues. The statistics of human trafficking are staggering, and this would have been an excellent opportunity to devote one of the goals to ending this form of slavery. If the UN had done so, it would have proven to the other nations that are of Tier 3 status that are a part of the UN that their blatant disregard for human trafficking will no longer be permitted.

In order to combat human trafficking, a large global initiative must be implemented. Governments that allow this to occur in their countries must be punished and withheld from other international policy involvement until they have reached the a set, and actively implemented, global precedent on human slavery. However, the efforts of many NGO’s are making a tremendous difference in human trafficking by raising awareness and exposing the atrocities to those that may not want to acknowledge what is going on in our world. From large initiatives such as COSA and The Empower Foundation to smaller ones shown in the video below, the effort and passion these individuals have is rapidly gaining momentum among concerned citizens of the world.

This video displays the great efforts of a small group of retired veterans and government officials who want to end human trafficking.

 

With the efforts of many and a stricter global stance on human trafficking, this inhumane form of slavery can cease to exist. Everyone must be aware of ways to spot human trafficking, as there are human slaves among us in all countries, states, neighborhood and walks of life. This list gives 15 points for the everyday citizen to become more involved in the efforts to end human trafficking. If all citizens are more conscientious and do not turn a blind eye to what is going on in the world around them, then human trafficking can be combatted.

 

It will take the efforts of many, but it can be done.

Post #6- Crisis Caravan

Linda Polman’s book Crisis Caravan exposes the faults within humanitarian aid organizations, including NGOs.  

Her concerns begin with the dilemma expressed by some of the world’s first humanitarian workers: Henri Dunant and Florence Nightingale. The question they differ on is to what extent does one leave and ask “Is it worth it?” NGOs have been subjected to paying excessive amounts to rebel organizations, missing supplies, witnessing atrocities to other groups as well as not being allowed to treat others suffering.

Dunant believed it was a duty to help no matter what and he carried over the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence while forming the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1863. Nightingale believed aid fails in purpose of warning parties use to their own advantage.

One must determine whether it is just to pick certain human rights to defend and to have others that are chosen from as NGOs have to provide funds to rebel causes, and remain witnesses to atrocities for the sake of neutrality. For example, in Goma, NGOs were at the mercy of the Hutu extremists.

 “In one attack, twenty-five private security guards at an aid supplies warehouse belonging to CARE Canada were shot dead by robbers. Their places at the gate were coolly taken by Hutu extremists, who then demanded-and apparently got-regular salaries from CARE,” (Polman 31).

Polman expresses her concern with aid organizations that have to pay or give supplies to enter a war zone. Warlords use the money to arm themselves, while the aid organizations are trying to help the people they are injuring. For example in Somalia, “the entrance fee charged by warlords to as much as 80 percent of the amount the aid supplies were worth,” (Polman 96). Polman has an issue with the fact that the people who the INGOs are negotiating with are the ones that are mainly the cause of the conflict. By paying to enter the area, they are facilitating the conflict that is ravaging the area. Ethics are not considered once in a war zone, but they should be on this matter. Polman stresses the weight of the benefits the aid organizations are providing with the fact that millions of dollars are entering the pockets of these violent regimes only to make them more powerful. Not only do the aid organizations have to pay, but their lives are pt at risk by working with the powerful leaders. In the Congo, six Red Cross workers were killed for helping the Lendus, whom they were not allowed to help based upon an earlier agreement.

FILE PHOTO OF THE THEN REBEL SOLDIERS OUTSIDE PRESIDENCY IN KINSHASA
The Hema soldiers in the eastern Congo region, who have been at war with the Lendu people.

Another concern Polman raises is that NGOs provide aid that is not needed. With the introduction of MONGOs (My Own NGO) which are “run by people who are convinced they can get things sorted out in a crisis zone more effectively, quickly, and cheaply than the “real” aid workers with- to MONGO eyes at least- self serving motives and cumbrous bureaucracy,” (Polman 50), the influx of problems in providing any kind of emergency relief has increased. In times of crisis, MONGO carriers unknowingly bring in broken supplies, just bringing in whatever donations received. They focus more on the quantity of goods they are providing rather than the quality in order to boost their statistics. I will address their business mindset later on.

“MONGOs have been known to ship frostbite medication to victims of tropical disasters, and starving Somalis have received laxatives, slimming cures and electric blankets,” (Polman 52).

Polman has issues with MONGOs like this because they are doing more harm than benefit in the areas they enter. They are often unorganized and led by people who feel they have a calling to do good, rather than true humanitarian aid experience. Bringing supplies, medical equipment and clothes that the people of that country either can’t use or don’t need defeats the purpose of the MONGOs existence. Polman argues that those living in a war zone “deserve protection from people that arrive unannounced and set about to work without the most basic qualifications,” (Polman 62). Another issue Polman has with MONGOs is the fact that larger aid organizations rarely critique the faulty MONGOs to avoid negative publicity for the entire industry, so their mistakes rarely go noticed by the general public.

Journalists, Public and Government Officials

This is something that journalists, the public, and government officials need to focus on to make humanitarian aid more successful. Since larger organizations won’t hold themselves or MONGOs accountable, it is up to these groups to ensure that these organizations are performing justly and efficiently. Journalists need to expose the fact that an MONGO performing an operation killed a young boy or another one delivered winter coats to refugees in the desert instead of tagging along with them to refugee camps. Journalists need to distance their relationships with the aid organizations to do an un-biased job reporting on them. By exposing these mistakes, the public, including those that donate money or supply, learn the faults that these organizations have. Public officials need to create some sort of regulation to make sure only legitimate organizations are entering the countries needing aid, instead of a random group with no experience. These regulations will protect those who need the aid, ensuring they receive only legitimate aid. All of these groups are lacking the urgency to investigate these aid organizations properly and are missing out on an important ongoing global issue.

“Businesses Dressed up like Mother Teresa”

Polman uses this term in the afterword of her book Crisis Caravan to define the business mindset of many NGOs. They operate like a business for contracts to travel to provide aid in these areas, a term Polman deems “contract fever”. NGOs are in competition with each other by how much money they raise, the number of countries they operated in a year or the number of patients they have treated. These statistics are put together in a report published to the public to have donations poor in. For many NGOs, the percentage of a donation that actually goes towards humanitarian aid is lower than most would think. The website, Charity Navigator, allows people to see how much of their donation goes towards what causes. However, the NGOs hide their business motivations by portraying a “Mother Teresa” front to make themselves appear more charitable in the public eye. By competing with each other to make themselves appear the most involved in global affairs, the NGOs are positioning themselves to receive the most aid, which helps get the better contracts, and powers the entire cycle.

 

 

 

 

Post #5

Iran, while it may be one of the more progressive countries in the Middle East, still has many issues regarding human rights. Iranians were hoping for a change in human rights with the 2013 election of moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, but little progress has been made.

The most prominent issues regarding human rights in Iran are particularly over repressions by government officials as well as executions. Most of the executions are related to drug offenses. The number of executions was projected to decrease in 2016, but human rights groups, however, report that the number might be as high as 437, with most executions taking place in the second half of the year. While most executions are drug related, the extent of crimes that can be punishable by death is rather absurd. For example, adultery and homosexual acts can get people, especially women, killed. It should be noted that Iranian law is inherently biased and more brutal towards women.

This video displays the mistreatment of women political prisoners in Iran.

Iranians are also restricted with their speech. Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter that Americans use so freely, are blocked in Iran. In June of 2016, the country began implementing a political crime law which, while a step forward in granting fair trials, could still limit free speech. According to the law, insulting or defaming public officials, when “committed to achieve reforms and not intended to target the system, are considered political crimes.

Women are oppressed and are denied rights when it comes to travel, working and many other aspects of daily life. Iranian women are treated as second-class citizens, but authorities choose to ignore that women cannot enter stadiums and that there are gender barriers in the market. 

Environmentally, the Iranians are destroying their own people due to the extent of their pollution issues. According to city officials, some 270 people die each day from blood cancer, heart and respiratory diseases, and other pollution-related illnesses. The government needs to implement strict environmental regulations to make a drastic improvement in air quality, especially in the capital city of Tehran. The Iranian people have a right to have a safe, clean place to live and right now a majority of cities are not reaching these standards. Iran has recently made progress by restricting gasoline imports, however, there has been a massive increase in use of automobiles in recent years which increases pollution.

Climate Change and Human Rights

Climate change affects the way people can live their lives and the way governments can function. Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey’s TED Talk emphasizes the importance of connecting our deep-rooted traditions to our environment and the value we get from it. Earth is our home today and has been home to our ancestors hundreds of years ago, too. So, why destroy it? Why destroy the history of the human race by the search for the latest development, or to make the most money?

Islands will disappear if we do not reduce our carbon emissions, and gone with them will be the homes of people as well as the history of the lineages of the many families who resided there for decades. However, in the Western world, we tend to only focus on our own individual lives and the direct impact things like climate change have on our daily lives. We are very ethnocentric people.

Faris Noor’s paper on going beyond eurocentrism emphasizes on a general acceptance of other cultures from the Western world. Noor states that there are two alternatives for Europe. One is to “try to retain it’s socio-political and cultural leadership” and th other is “coming to terms with its existence in a multi centered world.” It is not a secret that Europe and North America are losing its dominance as the only superpowers in the world, especially with the rise of China.

Noor believes that cultures, instead of trying to adapt to Western ways for modernization and development, should instead solve their own problems by turning to their own cultures.

Westerners need to accept that today’s world is fragmented and there are many powers in the world, not just contained in Europe. With that acceptance, a mutual respect of other cultures should follow.

 

Post #4

Deemed a “hoax” by politicians and delegitimized by corporations that are profiting billions of dollars from polluting the planet, climate change is an extremely legitimate problem for the Earth’s population.

We are now at a time where it is imperative that governments come together to seriously enforce initiatives to halt the devastating damage that corporations have done to our planet, before it is too late. Oceans are rising and warming, forests are disappearing daily, and glaciers that have been frozen for thousands of years are now melting.

We are destroying our very own ecosystem.

Not only are we, citizens of the Earth, physically damaging the planet. We are also damaging the livelihoods of people. Along with their livelihoods, their culture, language and traditions that have existed long before any of us were alive. For example, the Inuits in the Arctic are trying to maintain a sustainable life while the glaciers around them are melting rapidly while preserving their culture that has been based around the Arctic conditions. In Shiela Watt-Cloutier’s work “Inuit Right to Culture Based on Ice and Snow”, she makes the connection of the importance the environment has on the lifestyle of indigenous peoples. Watt- Cloutier states that environmental issues are “very much about the health and well-being not only our bodies, but also our cultural survival.” The Inuit culture is based on hunting, with ice and snow as their “highways”.  Not only is climate change causing the animals that they hunt to become near extinct, the hunting culture that instills patience and courage in the young Inuit people becomes instinct as well. It is the same with the Republic of Kiribati, with sea levels rapidly increasing, the island is at risk of literally drowning.

republic-of-kiribati
The Republic of Kiribati

So, what is being done?


The Paris Agreement was signed by 170 countries with the goal of limiting the rise of global temperatures and slowing the effects of climate change on the planet. The countries that signed this agreement are responsible for 93% of emissions of greenhouse gases. China and the U.S, make up for 40% of emissions were major supporters of the agreement. However, with the recent election of President Donald Trump, these efforts may or may not persist as his administration has not placed a high emphasis yet on environmental protection.

The key points of the Paris Agreement can be found here. They primarily focus on reducing global warming, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing transparency, financial support and a recognition for small islands like the Republic of Kiribati.

Iran’s Environmental Issues

United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Gary Lewis gave a speech detailing the five main environmental issues in Iran. 

They are as follows:

  1. Water
  2. Land Degradation
  3. Energy
  4. Air Pollution
  5. Biodiversity Loss

Water is Iran’s biggest resource constraint, as the livelihoods of many people that depend on the resources they have are not going to be able to sustain their reliance on these sources for much longer. For example, Lake Oromiyeh, one of Iran’s largest bodies of water has been rapidly evaporating.  This is causing tensions among the people that live nearby.

lake-urmia-shrink.jpg
The evaporation of Lake Oromiyeh

Iran, like many other nations, has issues with deforestation. Lewis said, “Currently, Iran’s energy intensity and per capita CO2 emission levels are among the highest in the world. This has to do with Iran’s growing population – its rightful development aspirations – and its abundant natural gas and oil reserves. But it also has to do with fuel price subsidies that have set the price of energy far too low.”

However, Iran most life threatening environmental issue is air pollution. The capital city of Tehran, has a consistent smog problem that causes schools and businesses to shut down. Tehran’s air pollution is partly due to geographical factors: The Iranian capital is semi-enclosed by high altitude mountains in three directions, blocking air circulation. Tehran’s large population also adds to the air pollution, as well as the high number of domestically produced vehicles on the roads. This causes tensions among the people and oil companies, who are placed with a large amount of blame for these issues. The pollution in Tehran causes a severe threat to the health of the people, and is responsible for hundreds of deaths in the city.

tehran pollution.jpg

The Environmental Protection Organization of Iran has implemented several initiatives to improve the conditions in Iran, but have been unsuccessful. This is partly due to the politics are structurally involved in the problem of air pollution. The organizations responsible for taking on the issue are not coordinated and managed under a higher body with superseding control, while the Iranian capital suffers from the effects of centralized management. The people of Tehran are becoming frustrated with the lack of change as the effects of the pollution are detrimental to their health.

Drastic changes in the emissions of greenhouse gases and implementation of new restrictions are going to be required of the Iranian government in order to see an improvement in the environment.

 

 

Nationalism: Iran Post #3

In this time of global awakening, where countries that were once struggling under the control of the world’s Western powers are now prospering with newfound economic success. This new success brings improvements in education, quality of life and foreign relations. All of these aspects promote a sense of nationalism.

Nationalism, a patriotic devotion to one’s own country. It includes movements for independence and unification. It is correlated with the success that countries like China and India have had economically. Nationalism is asserting your nations identity as a unified one on the world stage.

Iran is currently experiencing a rise of nationalism, which is causing conflict. According to Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran,  nationalism is un-Islamic. It opposes the concept, unmah, which rejects divisions and borders between Muslim countries. Conservatives in Iran are threatened by this surgence of nationalism. One example of this movement is on Oct. 28 2016 hundreds of people gathered at King Cyrus’ tomb on his birthday. King Cyrus was the founder of the Archaemanid Empire in 500 BC.

Here protestors are seen chanting “Iran is our country. Cyrus is our father.”

In Zakaria’s chapter, “The Rise of Nationalism”, he views several dangers with the rise of nationalism. He considers the central challenge of the rise of the rest to be to “stop forces of global growth from turning into forces of global disorder and disintegration,” (Zakaria 34). With the rise of other super powers, the risk of more conflict and disorder arises as a nation’s sense of pride and desire for recognition and respect has been known in history to cause global conflicts. Zakaria also criticizes the UN Security Council as an “antique global governance structure.”

Starting from the 1960s on the shah implemented “The White Revolution”, an attempt to Westernize Iran that was highly opposed. This was one of many events that led to the Revolution of 1979, including the hostage crisis that is remembered in US history. The Iranians were divided between those who wanted a republic based on Islamic principles or an imperial based Persian style government that was already in place.  Now, in 2017, there seems to be a re-occuring divide amongst the people of Iran.

Inequality is on the rise in Iran. The Statistical Center of Iran (SCI) released a report showing that economic inequality had increased for the first time in four years in 2015. Iran is currently trying to re-integrate themselves into the global economy so growth is expected. However, reports show that the growth in terms of personal consumption is highly unequal.  While this could just be a fluctuating rise or decrease of inequality, one could estimate that like many other powers in the global economy, it is rare that the entire nation benefits from the growth. It is more likely that a select few will reap most of the benefits from global economic participation at the expense of the working class. This is correlated with the fact that there are more Iranians living in poverty today than there were four years ago. Also, a survey conducted by SCI revealed that in 2014, 9.27% of the rural population was poor (using a lower poverty line of about $3 purchasing power parity), compared to 3.74% in 2012. So, while one could argue that the Iranian economy is growing, the growth, per usual, is not distributed equally among the citizens.

President Rouhani has worked to transform the Iranian economy, and has succeeded by the rising growth rates. However, it appears his administrations’ focus is more on continuing to grow the economy on a global scale. It appears that the economy will continue to grow, and it will be revealed shortly if that will also continue the growth in inequality in Iran.

 

 

 

 

 

Post #2- Language

The Language

Language affects various aspects of a countries culture, people and policies. From the way one’s thought processes are formed to the ways it can be interpreted, language holds a central role in global interactions.

Iran is a nation that hosts a wide variety of language speakers. The most common one spoken is Farsi, otherwise known as Persian to Westerners. Farsi is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Over half of the population of Iran speaks Farsi. What is unique about Farsi is that many words either overlap with French or have similar roots. The French and Iranian people have shared a friendly relationship since the Middle Ages, after experiencing a brief rough patch, are now continuing with their past history. On Jan. 28, French President Francois Hollande met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met in Paris to work on a major trade agreement. With that being said, there are many French words spoken in everyday Farsi language.

The second most common language spoken by approximately 18% of Iranians is Azerbaijani, a form of Turkish dialect. This is followed by Kurdish, which is spoken by 10% of Iranians and then small patches of Luri, Arabic and Balochi encompass the diverse language set of the Iranian people .

There are three categories of Iranian languages: Ancient, Middle and Modern. Most of the evidence of these languages is remnants of ancient texts and poetry , as they are no longer spoken and have few connections with the current languages of Iran.

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Map of Iran showing the various languages spoken in the distinct geographical regions.

Global Organizations

United Nations

Iran was one of the 51 original members of the UN since it’s founding in 1945, but now has a controversial role in UN relations. Since 2008, there have been several sanctions passed by the Security Council against Iran, including a mandate of an Iran Sanctions Committee Panel of Experts. Here is a report of the committee’s meetings. 

International Monetary Fund

Iran has been a member of the IMF since 1945 as well. Iran was under review by the IMF from Dec. 3 to Dec. 14 2016 to assess the state of the nation after a recession in 2015. The IMF stated that the economy is rebounding due to oil production and exports. The IMF noted Iran has a “strong commitment to AML/CFT reform that helps facilitate the expansion of correspondent banking relations,” as well as a prediction for an increase of its GDP to 6.6 percent. A challenge Iran faces is developing a long term plan for sustainable activity and growth.

World Trade Organization

Unlike the UN and IMF, Iran has had a rough history with the WTO. Iran first applied for admission in 1996. Their application was not considered for five years due to tensions with the United States. It was brought up 22 times, and was finally approved in 2005. However, Iran has only reached an observer status in the WTO, and their exports have increased exponentially since 2005.

Gini Coefficient

The Gini Coefficient of Iran is 44.5, and they are currently ranked 46th in the world, out of 176 nations. In relation to the United States, which is 45.0, the coefficients are very similar. The Gini Coefficient measures the degree of inequality in the distribution of income. The lower the Gini coefficient is, the more equal the country is. Iran’s 44.5 coefficient signals a significant inequality in the country.