Abdolnasser Hemmati, the former chairman of Iran’s central bank

Iran’s Ex-Chief Banker Harshly Attacks Government’s Economic Record

Friday, 03/15/2024

The former chairman of Iran’s central bank has harshly criticized the hardliner government of President Ebrahim Raisi for the worsening economic crisis in the country.

Abdolnasser Hemmati accused the government of creating three-digit inflation of food prices and the impoverishment of tens of millions of people “while Iran has the biggest combined oil and gas reserves in the world.”

President Ebrahim Raisi and his hardliner allies promised a quick fix for the economy during the 2021 presidential campaign, arguing that they can de-couple the economy form US sanctions. However, most economic indicators have worsened in the ensuing 30 months, with the national currency halving in value.

Hemmati was responding to Raisi’s remarks on Friday when the president said that “enemies try to spread despair” among Iranians by highlighting negative news. Hemmati said that Raisi’s policies have led to higher inflation and more corruption, by offering economic privileges to insiders. He was referring to preferential government rates for foreign currencies provided to some importers of essential goods, including foodstuff and animal feed.

Since the United States imposed sanctions on Iran in 2018, the national currency has lost value 15-fold, dropping from 40,000 to 600,000 rials per US dollar. The US withdrew from the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement demanding a stronger deal, while Tehran has refused a new deal proposed by the Biden administration in 2022.

Hemmati, referring to the hardliner slogan of a strong government said, “The decline in people's purchasing power despite having the world's first rank in oil and gas resources, over 30 percent of the population falling below the poverty line, a significant gap with regional rivals in terms of gross domestic product," are not signs of strength.

More News