Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, facing serious economic challenges, gave his 6th interview in 10 months to the state television Saturday evening, June 25.
During the interview, Raisi defended his government's problematic economic performance and blamed the previous government and "conspiracies hatched by the enemies," for the country's mounting problems.
According to the official news agency, IRNA, Raisi said that his government has repaid the previous government's 290 trillion rial (around $1.2 billion) debt to the banks within only 20 days after he took office. He added that very little fund in foreign currency was left at the treasury by the end of the previous government's term of office. He also claimed that the "economic reform" he is pursuing should have been implemented under the government of President Hassan Rouhani.
Meanwhile, he blamed foreign conspiracies and the previous government's performance for the financial crisis Iranians are facing today.
One news website commented that the interview was not really an interview. It was a one-sided campaign speech, and the interviewer acted like an employee, referring to the state televsion fully at the service of the government.
In an interview with Nameh News website, Iranian economic analyst Albert Boghosian said Raisi's remarks on the state TV were not convincing. Boghosian added that Raisi's promise about tackling Iran's rising inflation within a short period of time was unrealistic, and that the people were right not to believe him.
He said it was not clear if the President meant that prices would come down after a while, or as is more likely, he meant that there will be no further increases.
Raisi’s government abolished food import subsidies in early May that led to an immediate jump in prices. The point-to-point inflation rate for May-June jumped 55 percent to the same period in 2021. The government called its decision “economic surgery.”
Boghosian added that Iranians were not prepared for Raisi's 'economic surgery’ and likened the resident's move to building a house while ignoring that the operation will lead to the collapse of neighboring buildings. The economist said ironically that Raisi has performed the surgery but there is no one around to take care of the patient's recovery.
He warned that Iran is in a situation that even stabilizing the prices are not acceptable and there should be a reduction in inflation. "People cannot wait…hoping that prices will hopefully come down in six months," he said.
In another development, moderate-conservative news website Khabar Online asked its readers whether Raisi's remarks were convincing. Most of the comments sent to the website were negative. One reader said: "It was disappointing. He did not say anything new." Another reader wrote: "Raisi's comments about the banking system, inflation, prices, and housing did not make sense." Still, a third reader commented that "The honorable president did not accept responsibility for his cabinet's performance and blamed the previous government and sinister elements. Generally, he did not convince anyone."
Economic journalist Ebrahim Alizade wrote in series of tweets on Sunday: "Why did Raisi took part in this interview? Was he trying to calm the people? He kept promising that the situation is going to get better but did not talk about the parliament's plans to further increase prices."
In the meantime, reports from the Iranian parliament (Majles) say the process has been completed for the impeachment of Industry Minister Reza Fatemi Amin while motions have been also tabled to impeach the ministers of Agriculture, Interior, and Roads and Housing.