Top clerics, politicians and the media in Iran have ignored a warning from the Supreme Leader this week not to criticize the government and state officials.
As has been the case in recent weeks, the economic performance of the government was the main target of attacks, but critics also slammed Raisi’s personal blunders.
However, none of the critics mentioned that all the government policies as well as the government itself were endorsed by Khamenei and perhaps he is to be blamed for the mistakes of the government he brought to power by “engineering” the 2021 presidential election.
Raisi was under fire by several Iranian newspapers, despite restrictions on media, for saying that clerics rather than doctors and nurses have helped Iranians out of the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, a hardline cleric, holding one of the highest ranks in Iran’s Shiite clerical system, said during a meeting with Planning and Budget Organization Chief Vice President Massoud Mirkazemi that “People are suffering because of rising prices and the government should be accountable for that,” ٍEftekhari news website in Tehran reported.
The senior ayatollah who has overall supported Khamenei throughout the years, obviously ignored his plea on Tuesday not to criticize state officials.
Makarem Shirazi called on the government to “at least convince the people” and explain why prices have dramatically risen, despite the government’s claims of exporting more oil.
“This is a mystery for the people, and they ask why the prices are rising while the government says it is selling more oil,” he said. He also questioned why the government cannot prevent the smuggling of essential commodities out of the country.
The ayatollah also called on the government to think of a solution for the unusual rise in the cost of housing in Iran. Elsewhere in his remarks Makarem Shirazi said the government should also explain why low-quality Iranian cars are more expensive than foreign vehicles and why the government prevents car imports.
He warned that the government’s behavior and its failure in controlling prices can lead to people’s distrust in the government.
Another cleric, Abolghasem Alizadeh, the former religious propaganda official, told Fars News on Wednesday that Friday Prayer imams cannot do their job if the government does not give them money.
Yet another cleric, Seyyed Ali Ghazi Askar, the superintendent of the shrine of Hazrat Abd ul-Azim near Tehran also called on the government to control the rising cost of housing in Iran, Fars reported. Ghazi Askar said the government is indebted to the mosques and should pay what it owes to them through allocating annual budgets.
Conservative commentator Mohammad Mohajeri said in an interview, “President Raisi still sees himself in the atmosphere of election campaigns. He still thinks he can evade responding to criticisms by attacking others including the previous government.
Meanwhile he criticized Raisi’s cabinet by saying that “there is a terribly high degree of illiteracy in the government.” He added that Raisi does not pay any attention to areas where his government is utterly inefficient.
Mohajeri reiterated that the country needs to national solidarity, but this cannot be achieved with weak media and individuals whose priority is their factional affiliation.