Mohsen Rezaei's campaign poster in June 2021 presidential election

Mohsen Rezaei's campaign poster in June 2021 presidential election

Iran’s Vice President Says Another Difficult Year Ahead For Economy

5/25/2022

Vice President for Economic Affairs Mohsen Rezaei says Iran is facing yet another difficult year, as recent price hikes led to several days of protests.

During a visit to Khuzestan Province on Monday, he also said that Iran has been experiencing a 40 percent inflation rate for several years now.

Rezaei argued that the people should be convinced the government has an economic plan and is trying to solve their problems. His remarks contradicted many Iranian analysts and politicians including several lawmakers who have charged that the Raisi administration does not have an economic plan and it is his economic team's ad-hoc decisions that have led to an economic crisis.

Rezaei told Friday prayers imams of Khuzestan that the government is trying to gradually reform the economy and that President Ebrahim Raisi has asked several think tanks to write a document about “this evolution.” He further claimed that in the past 26 years Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has repeatedly called on successive governments to start economic reforms, but nothing has been done.

Rezaei, a military man with no experience in running the economy, made uncalculated comments a few months ago, which led to an unofficial ban on him to declare economic policies. His comments on Monday coincided with president Raisi being absent, on a visit to Oman.

Mohesen Rezaei meeting with officials in Abadan to discuss rescue efforts. May 24, 2022

The vice president was last seen Tuesday morning sitting on the floor of a building in Abadan with Interior minister Ahmad Vahidiand a group of local officials, reportedly leading a meeting about relief work following the collapse of a high rise building which killed 16 people, and tens of others injured or gone missing.

Saeed Hafezi, a local reporter, told the Iran International TV Tuesday afternoon that the owner of the collapsed Building Hossein Abdolbaghi was linked to Mohsen Rezaei, adding that while Abdolbaghi was reportedly arrested, it was said after Rezaei's arrival in Abadan that he was killed under the debris.

Meanwhile, commenting on Rezaei's remarks on the Iranian economy during the year, Reza Gheidi, an economic journalist in Tehran told Iran International TV that Iranians no longer believe or trust remarks or promises by state officials, mainly because they constantly contradict themselves.

Gheidi added that the situation is marked by the people's disillusionment and disappointment about state officials' ability to deal with the economic crisis. Iranians are currently thinking of food not as something that can keep them healthy, but as something that can simply fill their stomach, as prices have doubled and tripled in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Alirezabeigi, a lawmaker for Tabriz has harshly criticized state officials "for insulting Iranians' intelligence when talking about the economy and the causes of protests from 2018 to 2022."

The lawmaker said that the people are feeling the pressure of rising prices with their flesh and bones as the impact of the government's policy of removing food subsidies has given rise to further inflation. He characterized state officials’ promises about no further price rises as "nonsense."

While the government insists that it has hiked the price of a few food items, another lawmaker, Hassan Lotfi, said on 21 May that price rises have already impacted a range of some 700 household items.

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