Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi meeting with editors of reformist newspapers. November 6, 2021

Criticism Of Raisi Continues Despite His Good Ties With Media

Monday, 11/08/2021

Only two days after a "promising" meeting between Iran's president and managing editors of reformist newspapers, they continued criticizing his performance.

The dailies' managers even criticized President Ebrahim Raisi during the meeting lashing out at him for many of his appointments that have been widely condemned as examples of nepotism. Raisi responded that he will tell his ministers to explain the appointments to the public.

Nonetheless, it appears there is no end to such appointments, as the administration has introducedMassoud Fayazi, a relative of Tehran's mayor, to the Majles as the candidate for the post of the Minister of Education.

The event took place on the same day that the culture ministry's Press Supervisory Board banned Kelid daily in Tehran for depicting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's hand, drawing the poverty line in Iran. The ban was contrary to what Raisi had promised about press freedom during his campaign in May when he told the conservative daily Resalat that he guarantees the freedom of the press.

Following the November 6 meeting with managing editors and proprietors, Mansour Mozaffari the managing editor of reformist daily Aftab Yazd wrote in a commentary that Raisi must have realized during the past three months that there is a certain gap between the expectations of the public and the abilities of his cabinet ministers.

Mozaffari wrote that the first 100 days of every administration provide a reasonable ground for judging its performance and its officials and suggested that after his first year in office Raisi should decide which ministers to keep and which ones to drop. Mozaffari added that Raisi is likely to make that decision even before the first year and before the parliament warns him about his ministers' poor performance.

Incidentally, some lawmakers pointed out the weakness of some of Raisi's ministers at the parliament's session on Sunday when lawmakers were discussing shortcomings in the nation's livelihood and the unresolved problems of Iran's foreign policy.

According to Mozaffari, Raisi told the editors that his first and foremost preoccupation was to solve the people's economic problems. He also said that Raisi responded to their concern about the appointment of several Revolutionary Guard generals as provincial governors, by saying that all of them were educated in the areas of management and civil engineering with some executive experience.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Ali Vakili, the managing editor of reformist daily Ebtekar wrote in a commentary that Raisi spent the first two hours of the meeting listening to what the journalists had to say. Vakili also agreed with Mozaffari that the most significant criticism put forward was about the appointments within the administration. Vakili praised Raisi for being a good listener. However, he criticized him for not having a clear roadmap for the country in the areas of the economy and foreign policy. "We are facing serious problems and dangerous situations in these areas," Vakili wrote.

He pointed out that wasting time and failing to address these issues during the administration's first 100 days in office will trigger alarms, adding that what has been done so far portrays no promising outlook.

Vakili pointed out that regardless of winning the presidential election in a low turnout vote, the people still have hope in Raisi. "His only bad luck is that, unlike his predecessors, he does not have too much time to solve the problems as the country faces a more critical situation."

Recalling President Hassan Rouhani poor relations with the press, Vakili pointed out that Raisi's good ties with the media are one of his points of strength."

Despite all this, criticism of the Raisi administration particularly in the areas of foreign policy and the economy continues in the press. Reformist Arman daily's front-page article on Monday saying that the country's problems will not be solved by managers who have no executive experience is shared by many papers and websites.

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