As President Ebrahim Raisi's allies and critics demand action to mitigate Iran's economic crisis, few thought that the IRGC-linked media would also join the fray.
Javan newspaper linked with the Revolutionary Guard carried an editorial on April 14 criticizing Raisi's latest order to lower rising prices.
The president, seeming incapable of controlling consumer inflation, had called on government watchdogs to look "behind the scenes” to find the culprits he called the mafia. Javan pointed out that the "Mafia has infiltrated the body of the government and culprits for rising prices were in fact Raisi's own colleagues in his administration."
The daily further warned that if there is a hidden hand behind the scenes, it means the government is not in control of the country's economy.
The editorial insisted that the administration has a contract with the nation, made promises, accepted responsibility and created some expectations, but it has taken too long, and nothing has been accomplished.
The newspaper also questioned why there are so many mafias in the economy, including the car mafia, the medicine mafia, the potato mafia and so on. It charged that no mafia can exist without infiltrating the body of the government. It concluded, "So, the mafia is the same as the government's managers!"
The IRGC-linked paper then called on Raisi to uproot these mafias based in government buildings in the same way one would uproot the weeds in a garden.
Ebrahim Raisi with some of his top aides who are also close to the Khamenei's office.
While Javan criticized Raisi, it is well known that the IRGC is a major player in the economy, having been accused repeatedly of building up a business empire through its political influence and hidden networks.
In another development, former lawmaker Mansoor Haghighatpoor told Khabar Online website that Raisi was not involved in choosing his cabinet ministers and others did it for him. He did not name the "others" but vaguely referred to them as "pressure groups who did their job independent of Raisi's will.”
Like the Javan editorial, the former MP said that Raisi has failed to solve major problems facing the country, and now the people expect him to solve small problems such as potato and tomato shortages.
Haghighatpoor said that one of Raisi’s biggest problems is lack of expertise among his ministers.
He said everyone knew during the June 2021 presidential election that the candidates who were barred from running for president had far better qualifications than those who were approved – including Raisi.
Referring to intractable problems such as rising prices and unemployment, Haghighatpoor said he was sure Raisi will soon start to reshuffle his cabinet.
Politicians on social media were also certain during the weekend that Industry Ministry Reza Fatemi Amin and Labor Minister Hojjat Abdolmaleki will have to leave the Raisi administration soon.
This comes while several members of the parliament, including Jalal Mahmoudzadeh, a lawmaker for Mahabad have said that the Majles presidium has so far prevented lawmakers from tabling the impeachment motion to dismiss quite a few cabinet ministers.
Although over 50 Iranian lawmakers have long called for the impeachment of ministers in Raisi's economic team, Raisi has not commented on the matter.
Another person who is silent about general dissatisfaction with the government is Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who has maintained public silence.
A few political activists such as reformist commentator Javad Emam have said that changing the ministers will not make the situation any better as everyone else in Raisi's circle of friends and acquaintances also lacks executive experience and a thorough understanding of the country's economic problems.