Majles Speaker, Ali Larijani, has forcefully criticized the government’s economic management, and continues to apportion 80% of the country’s economic woes to government management, and a mere 20% to the effects of sanctions. “80 percent of our economy’s issues and problems relate to management and incidentally the error imagined by Westerners is that because of sanctions they can provoke turbulence in our economy”.
Of particular note was his comment that the “Robin Hood-like methods don’t work in economics” [i.e. distributing money/resources to the poor for its own sake], questioning the government’s designation of funds for its flagship low cost housing project, Maskan-e Mehr, stating that instead funds should have been used to in a measured fashion to help subsidize struggling domestic industries. Larijani has long been a stalwart critic of the government, in particular its populist economic policies, which he has repeatedly blamed for feeding inflationary pressures. Larijani also claimed that because of the government’s profligate spending, the cash payments Iranians receive as a result of the first phase of subsidies reform, have been also eroded into irrelevance.
Sadeq Mahsuli, President Ahmadinejad’s former Minister of Interior, in an interview with Fars News and reported by Etemaad, has warned of a possible repeat of the events of the 2009 election. “Right now it can be forecast that the enemy’s security forces are busy planning for the 2013 election so they can put the forces of the revolution in straitened circumstances and strengthen their own forces. If we think other than this we are in a state of negligence. If we don’t have the necessary vision (basirat) worse than the sedition of 2009 is imaginable. It must constantly be highlighted for the people and all the devotees of the revolution, the elite and the privileged (khavas) – some of which in the 2009 sedition were remiss and failed – in the upcoming election they announce danger at the right time and understand the commands and considerations of the Supreme Leader so that the enemy can’t easily take the next step”.
Importantly, Mahsuli, who is also the main financial backer of the neoconservative Endurance Front for the Islamic Revolution, directly rebutted former President Hashemi-Rafsanjani’s recommendations for national reconciliation and unity, instead accusing the former president and incumbent Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council of trying to polarise the political system. “Someone who proposes the debate over national unity has one presupposition and paying attention to that presupposition is important. Of course it is possible they won’t act on this presupposition, but it is certainly deviant. That presupposition is this that the country is in crisis and for the resolution of [the crisis] we must have national unity or national reconciliation. Whereas today we are only not in crisis, but perhaps in the best circumstances since the victory of the Islamic revolution; in every respect, from internal security, political stability, public welfare and scientific progress and spiritual influence in regional countries and the world. They are trying to induce a crisis through the plan for “national unity”.”
Farda News reports on a meeting between former President Rafsanjani and former Majles Speaker, Ali Akbar Nateq Nuri, claiming that Nateq Nuri invited Rafsanjani to stand for the presidency in June 2013. In the meeting Nateq Nuri is alleged to have said, “I am in contact with the forces of the revolution, the merchants and the clergy. These forces are concerned by the way you have been treated. If you come clearly into fray we are also behind you.” Rafsanjani is alleged to have responded that he will enter the electoral fold “without fear”.
Fars News asks, “has Mehdi Hashemi escaped to Iran?” Citing an article published by the Canadian weekly Maclean’s, the article speculates whether Hashemi’s sudden return might be related to a ruling by the Ontario Court of Justice in which the former President’s son was ordered pay millions in damages after a former business associate had been tortured and imprisoned in Iran for several months.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, recounts the details of his being assaulted by individuals demonstrating outside of the UN General Assembly in New York. He blamed the People’s Mojahedin of Iran for the incident and claimed that the New York City police “passed by indifferent”, despite his warnings to them.
Image: Fars News