Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi during his TV interview. October 18, 2021

Conservative Paper In Iran Asks Raisi To Tell People The Truth


Author: Mardo Soghom

President Ebrahim Raisi should tell the truth to the people instead of giving "formal" television interviews, a well-known conservative newspaper has said.

The Islamic Republic newspaper (Jomhouri-ye Eslami), enjoying close connections with the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, in an editorial note wrote that there is a lot to say about an October 18 interview by state television with Raisi, but most of all “an interview with the president should not be a formality”.

The paper, established after the revolution in 1979, is managed by Masih Mohajeri, a widely respected veteran cleric known for eschewing factions.

The newspaper noted that despite earlier promises to accept questions from the public, no such opportunity was offered, and the interviewer did not challenge Raisi when he repeatedly blamed the former administration for current problems people face. The paper asked that more than two months have passed since Raisi took office and why there is no positive movement toward solving the economic hardship people face.

Masih Mohajeri, chief editor of 'Islamic Republic' newspaper

Iran’s hardliners were lambasting former president Hassan Rouhani in the media for the deteriorating economic conditions since the United States withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement (JCPOA) in 2018. The criticism usually left out the fact that without oil export income constituting half of the government’s budget Rouhani’s hands were tied. The same applies to Raisi.

The Islamic Republic daily wrote that when the price of poultry increased, the state television was attacking Rouhani but now when egg prices have doubled in two months it does not question Raisi.

The paper said that everyone knows the answer as to why egg prices have jumped but Raisi should have been asked about it, so he could have explained that his government is also challenged by the same “external factors”, Rouhani faced, which are beyond the president’s powers to address.

The sharp statement implicitly refers to Iran’s nuclear program and negotiations with the West that have so far not succeeded, leaving the country to struggle amid US sanctions.

The newspaper advised the president “to tell the people the reality, openly and honestly.” In this case, people would welcome his conduct and he would have a better chance of success. In other words, Raisi should come out and admit that US sanctions have led to the serious economic crisis, but the power to change that with a nuclear agreement rests with Khamenei.

Raisi was handpicked by Khamenei to become president after all serious rivals were barred from running in the June election by a constitutional body under the Supreme Leader’s control.

Both before the vote and after assuming office, Raisi has been echoing Khamenei’s slogans for self-sufficiency, and making lofty promises of revolutionary solutions to modern day economic issues. He issues a dozen orders a day for local and national problems to be solved, without saying how his officials can build roads, provide drinking water and electricity or pay workers when there is close to 50-percent budget deficit.

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