Mohammad Yazdi, 87, a senior influential ayatollah says that in forty years since the 1979 revolution, Iran has had 400 years' worth of progress.
Iran’s conservative Student Agency reports that Yazdi on Thursday said, “In these 40 years 400 years’ worth of service has been rendered to this country and we have had 400 years’ worth of growth and progress; technology, gadgets, various equipment, population and lifestyle , and now it is totally different from the past”.
Yazdi, who is a member of the Guardian Council, a conservative watchdog, did not provide any justification for his claim and it is not clear what exactly he meant. But he also added that in these years, “it was attempted to preserve Islam’s and the revolution’s principles”.
Yazdi’s claims should be viewed in the context of Iran’s low ranking in world indicators for progress. Widespread corruption is one criterion in which Iran ranks low and even Islamic Republic officials admit the seriousness of the problem. Transparency International has ranked Iran 130 among 180 countries in financial corruption.
On the economic front, Iran ranks low on domestic and foreign investment, with high inflation and unemployment.
Lack of economic opportunities combined with lack of social and political freedoms have forced at least seven million Iranians to emigrate from the country in the last four decades.
Just a few days ago, Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi, a top Shiite cleric and the spiritual father of Iran's hardliner conservatives all but admitted that the Islamic republic has failed, emphasizing that the goal should not be material progress but religious devotion.