Ebrahim Raisi's team member, officials during his inauguration, August 5, 2021

Ebrahim Raisi's team member, officials during his inauguration, August 5, 2021

Faced With Impasse, Raisi Officials Resort To Outlandish Claims

10/27/2021

Ali Yazdikhah, an Iranian lawmaker, says it will take another 3-4 months before President Ebrahim Raisi's economic team can begin to implement its policies.

After criticism of government inaction echoed in media in recent days, the conservative lawmaker defending the administration said it needs time to coordinate efforts among officials and agencies. He even went further, suggesting that it is only after that period when ministers will have to be accountable to Majles (parliament).

Yazdikhah made the comment in an interview with Khabar Online website on Tuesday, while the Raisi administration has already been in place for nearly three months without any sign of trying to meet its promises, including building one million homes in 12 months, and addressing the dire economic situation people face.

However, Yazdikhah said he was sure the administration can stand by those promises despite a 50-percent budget deficit, without explaining how that would be possible. However, he acknowledged that it is highly unlikely the government could build even 400,000 houses in one year.

Asked about what the Majles has been doing, Yazdikhah claimed that the lawmakers at the parliament have been working hard, but the media failed to reflect their hard work. However, he agreed with Khabar Online that the parliament has done very little to follow up on the promises made by the Raisi administration to tackle the ongoing economic crises.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday reformist daily Aftab Yazd in an article reviewed some of the impractical suggestions made by cabinet ministers to solve the country's ongoing problems. The daily characterized some of the comments made by Raisi's ministers as "noise pollution at Pasteur Avenue," where Iran's cabinet office is located in Tehran.

Aftab Yazd advised that the administration needs a media adviser to brief the ministers on the impact of their misplaced or outlandish comments and to prevent embarrassments. As an example, the Cultural Heritage Minister suggested last week to dig water wells next to Cyrus the Great’s 2,500-year-old tomb revered by the nation. The minister later tried to walk his comment back, but the damage was done. The daily added that denying such comments is always less effective than the initial comment or action that leads to the erosion of people’s trust in the government.

As an example of lofty statements by top officials, the daily referred to remarks by Industry Minister Reza Fatemi Amin who said recently: "We will manufacture so many cars next year that the people will not have to wait in line." The minister also promised a gradual reduction in car prices. This, the daily said, was like the promises made earlier this year to produce so many Covid-19 vaccines to saturate the markets in Iran and to export the surplus. Those who made this promise, admitted later that all their planning was wrong, the paper said.

Mr. Amin also promised to put an end to the Iranian economy's need for the US dollar. The daily said the claim could have only been made by an official in a country whose national currency was not critically devalued. Iran’s currency has lost its value ninefold since 2017.

Aftab Yazd also highlighted another comment by Khandouzi about the need to finish incomplete projects and said: "Please finish these incomplete projects before starting new ones," and stressed that "the economy minister certainly knows that finishing the incomplete projects takes at least 12 years and needs a budget in excess of hundreds of trillion of rials."

Last but not least, was a comment by Central bank Ali Salehabadi who has said, "Iran has left behind the recession." Referring to multiple serios economic challenges and calls to hasten the process of taking a loan from the International Monetary Fund, Aftab Yazd asked "How exactly did you leave the recession behind?"

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