Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been distancing himself from President Ebrahim Raisi’s policies as his economic failures become obvious and dangerous.

Ahmadinejad has been recently criticizing Raisi’s economic and foreign policies. He has particularly lashed out at Raisi’s decision to eliminate food subsidies which has brought thousands of Iranians into the streets in many cities in several provinces.

Meanwhile, media and pundits in Tehran have noted that many of Raisi’s ministers including his ministers of labor, agriculture, economy and industry, and housing as well as his Vice Presidents for planning and budget and Vice President for executive affairs were officials in Ahmadinejad’s government or members of the ultraconservative Paydari Party, representing people associated with the former president.

During the past nine months one of the recurrent criticisms of the Raisi was that he is using Ahmadinejsd’s men in his economic team that is believed to be responsible for the failure of his declared policies about the economy, housing and employment.

According to moderate news website, Rouydad24, Ahmadinejad has been more visibly active after Raisi took office last August. He has been travelling around Iranian provinces, meeting with relatively large groups of people and many Iranians take their grievances to Ahmadinejad’s doorstep at Narmak neighbourhood in eastern Tehran.

During this period Ahmadinejad has also traveled abroad paying eye-catching visits to Turkey and the United Arab Emirates where he was welcomed by groups of Iranian expats and foreign-based Persian-speaking media. He has also continued writing long letters to political and religious dignitaries all over the world. In one of his latest letters, he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that remaining in power for too long will lead to a dictatorship which is not in his or in Russia’s interest.

Ahmadinejad’s criticism of Raisi’s policies at times looks odd as both political observers and the man in the street notice the resemblance between Ahmadinejad and Raisi’s populist policies. Both talk about social justice and serving the nation in an identical way regardless of how genuine their statements are.

Critics liken Raisi’s policy of throwing money at problems regardless of long-term economic consequences much like Ahmadinejad did during his presidency. The significant difference is that the former president had much higher oil revenues than Raisi. However, Ahmadinejad has charged that the cash subsidy he started to pay to almost all Iranians regardless of their financial footing was about 40 dollars per person per month, while now Raisi cannot afford it because Iran’s currency has fallen 30-fold in the past 15 years.

He has also critiqued the elimination of food subsidies, saying to a crowd in Bushehr southern Iran: “You cannot do whatever you wish only because you are the boss! The nation will not allow anyone to do anything against the people’s will.”

The former President also lashed out at Raisi for “appointing small men to big jobs.” Meanwhile, he has harshly criticised Raisi administration’s policy about Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine. “Who gave you the permission to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?” Ahmadinejad asked.

24 with Fardad
Science Weekly
IITV News (12) - DC

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