Re: Party turns on Ahmadinejad over attitude to inflation

On Sep 20, 2007, at 1:32 PM, wrote:

Robert Tait in Tehran Thursday September 20, 2007 The Guardian

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has suffered an embarrassing
blow to his prestige after his own party attacked him for adopting a
jocular tone towards inflation at a time of rampant price rises.,,2172852,00.html

The rest of the piece is quite excellent:

The Islamic Revolution Devotees Society - a fundamentalist grouping
of revolutionary veterans co-founded by Mr Ahmadinejad - has added
its voice to a rising chorus of economic discontent by warning the
president that spiralling living costs are hurting the poor and
undermining his stated goal of social justice.

The society says the government is to blame because it embarked on
extravagant projects while failing to control the money supply.
“Unrestrained inflation increases the pressure on the weak and
leads to the poor becoming poorer as owners of non-monetary assets
get richer,” it says in an economic report. “The result is counter
to the goals, plans and slogans of Dr Ahmadinejad’s government.” The report also accuses Mr Ahmadinejad and other officials of
refusing to acknowledge the problem and of making light of it with
inappropriate jokes. It says: “Sometimes some high-ranking
government officials deny the growth of prices and deal with them
through making jokes. To deny the current inflation or ignoring it
through jokes is totally unacceptable.”

Mr Ahmadinejad has frequently dismissed complaints of rising prices
as the invention of a hostile media and blamed “secret networks”
for rising house prices. This year he responded to MPs’ protests
over the rising price of tomatoes by urging them to visit his local
greengrocer in Narmak in east Tehran. He also answered recent
criticism of his policies by saying he took advice from his local
butcher. “There is an honourable butcher in our neighbourhood who
knows all the economic problems of the people. I get my economic
information from him,” he said.

The latest report implicitly criticises his contemptuous view of
economics by describing it as a “specialised science” and says
Iran’s inflationary problems cannot be solved by “ad hoc
decisions”. That may partly refer to one of Mr Ahmadinejad’s most
controversial recent moves in which he ordered banks to cut
interest rates to 12% - below inflation, which is estimated at
between 20% and 30%.

Mr Ahmadinejad is on record as saying, “I pray to God I never know
about economics”. That echoes a comment attributed to the late
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of Iran’s 1979 Islamic
revolution, who is alleged to have said that “economics is for

Secret networks indeed. No wonder Ervand Abrahamian has a book
chapter on the paranoid style in Iranian politics.


Leave a Reply