Iran’s Supreme Leader has come under fire for disputed and boastful economic figures President Ebrahim Raisi has recently showcased amid economic crises.

Raisi offered debatable statistics in a meeting with Ali Khamenei on Tuesday to prove his achievements after one year in office. He had presented the same statistics in a press conference a day earlier.

Among other things, Raisi, who was handpicked by Khamenei to become president last year, was harshly criticized for fabricating inflation figures. He told Khamenei on Tuesday that his government brought down the 60 percent inflation rate in 2021 to 35 percent after one year.

While Raisi was criticized by traditional media including national newspapers, criticism of Khamenei was limited to social media as challenging the Supreme Leader is a no-go area for the press in Iran.

Iranian cleric Mohammad Ranani quoted Khamenei in an tweet August 31 as saying: "The most important success of this government is reviving the people's hope and trust in the government." Ranani added: "With skyrocketing prices and the difficulties the people have in making ends meet, I rule out that claim. The Supreme Leader is probably fed wrong statistics. God knows the truth."

Khamenei in turn praised the government for not complaining about lack of power, the same way former presidents often did.

Fereshteh Sadeghi, a former producer who has worked for international media, wrote in an August 31 tweet: "It is obvious why he has not heard that because…all of its members come from offices under Khamenei's supervision. What should they say?"

Wednesday's newspapers lashed out at Raisi for the figures he gave to the public and Khamenei. Reformist daily Arman Emrooz wrote in a commentary that the figures were in sharp contrast with the realities on the ground. These included his comments about reducing the rate of inflation, the realization of his promise about building four million homes, the improvement in the livelihood of teachers and nurses, the boost in fuel production and other forms of energy and so on.

Arman Emrooz also pointed out that Raisi's claim of sorting out the hefty budget deficit last year as well as his claim about not borrowing from the Central Bank were not true either. The daily quoted Raisi’s own officials as having said that it owes some 3,590 trillion rials to the bank, or at least $15 billion depending what currency exchange rate is used to calculate the astronomical number.

Referring to Raisi's boast about providing COVID vaccines for the nation, the daily reminded that key individuals [meaning Khamenei] and organizations [meaning offices under Khamenei's supervision] prevented the importing of vaccines by the previous government.

The daily also pointed out that Raisi's claims about the abundance of essential commodities, ending power cuts, and supplying water to underprivileged areas were not true.

Some newspapers such as Ebteklar highlighted parts of Khamenei's speech during the meeting with Raisi and his cabinet ministers that in fact showed Raisi's failure. The main headline on Ebtekar on Wednesday quoted Khamenei as saying: "The high cost of housing has made life difficult for the people."

Although Khamenei reminded Raisi and his government during the meeting on Tuesday to be realistic in terms of what they promise to the people, Entekhab quoted a senior foreign ministry official as saying on Wednesday: "We are very close to becoming a superpower."

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