Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has invited President Hassan Rouhani to a public debate to resolve “uncertainties” about the president’s 100-day report on the state of the country.
Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s media advisor, Mohammad Ali Ramin, has been credited with the idea of Ahmadinejad raising the issues of Holocaust denial and that Israel must vanish from the pages of history. In a recent interview he responded to rumors that the anti-American billboards in Tehran were his idea and his beliefs that opposing talks is the best strategy in negotiations and that the United States would soon break apart into several independent countries.
Iranian Urban Development Minister Abbas Akhoundi said that many of the low-income housing units built in the last few years lacked basic utilities and that construction of the housing units needs to be suspended.
Akhoundi said of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “Mehr housing scheme,” “The Mehr housing units that were constructed are in need of water, gas and sewage, and the administration is heavily involved with this issue.” He added, “Several thousand units of inappropriate housing were constructed, and while this type of home construction appears to be in the interest of the people, in reality, it is trap for the future government and the people.”
Prominent Reformist Saeed Hajjarian, who is often referred to as the main theoretician behind the Reform movement in Iran, has given a highly controversial and widely shared interview to hard-line Tasnim in which he claimed that the 2009 elections were not fraudulent but rather part of a “systematic deception.”
Some believe that Hajjarian, who is partially paralyzed after an assassination attempt reportedly by agents within the Islamic Republic, made these statements in response to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s recent request that those claiming fraud in the 2009 election should “apologize.” Hajjarian’s position in this Aug. 11 interview apparently drops the claim of fraud in the 2009 elections but expands the issue to the much more serious claim of election inequities within Iran.
An advisor to President-elect Hassan Rouhani in charge of the transition from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration to Rouhani’s said that “The economic situation of the country is worse than previously thought.” Akbar Torkan, who was minister of defense under Rafsanjani and deputy minister of oil under Ahmadinejad’s first term, said that one of the primary challenges of the incoming administration will be to “secure basic goods.”
One of Rouhani’s mandates as president will be to create stability in the Iranian economy, which has appeared unmanageable in the last few years to due economic sanctions from the West and government mismanagement. This is no small task, and other Rouhani advisors have begun to issue warnings against expecting a quick economic rebound.
A former agriculture minister under Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani’s presidency and current member of the advising committee to help form President-elect Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet Issa Kalantari spoke to Ghanoon newspaper about a variety of economic challenges Iran is facing today and in the decades ahead, in particular the potential water crisis.
Since the election of President-elect Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian currency has gained considerably with respect to the dollar in Iran’s open, unregulated market. Many had taken this increase in value as a sign of renewed confidence by Iranians in Rouhani’s promise to improve relations with the West. Under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the value of the toman had decreased dramatically, causing many Iranians to turn to dollars as a form of investment.
However, according to two articles by Reformist papers Shargh and Bahar, the strengthening of the toman may indeed be the result of actions taken by Ahmadinejad’s administration to fulfill a promise to bring down the toman value to below 3,000 with respect to the dollar. This decision by the current administration, which would be only a temporary solution, may cause serious economic challenges for the Rouhani administration. A summary of the two articles was also carried by Persian-language Radio Farda.
Certain Iranian media have begun to speculate that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will ultimately support presidential candidate Saeed Jalili. Ahmadinejad has long supported his ally and chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei for the presidency. However, Mashaei was disqualified by the Guardian Council to run.
The Alef website, which is close to traditional conservative parliament member Ahamd Tavakoli, mentioned the support of pro-Ahmadinejad for Jalili, and their immediate denial. Muhammad Sahimi covered and analyzed in Muftah the support of websites close to Ahmadinejad of Jalili’s candidacy. The Entekhab website, which is not friendly to Ahmadinejad, quoted an article from pan-Arab Al Hayat in which they claim that Mashaei has handed his campaign staff over to Jalili.