Raisi Faces Criticism from Politicians and Media over Iran’s Deteriorating Economy

Iranian lawmakers have criticized President Ebrahim Raisi’s government for its inability to control inflation, despite having greater revenues than his predecessor, President Hassan Rouhani. National security lawmaker Shahriyar Haidari suggested that the current government’s weakness lies in its incompetence. Although Haidari said that the previous administration had better resource management, he did not mention that they had more access to the country’s foreign exchange reserves than the current government.

Lawmaker Shahriyar Haidari recently revealed that successive Iranian governments spent $140 billion on Iran’s National Development Fund over 15 years, with the Rouhani government in power for eight years. The Raisi government’s “improved financial situation” is based on claims by government officials regarding increasing oil exports. However, economists, politicians, and the media have criticized the government for failing to repatriate foreign currency sold at 30 to 40 percent discounts on crude oil.

Haidari praised Iran’s negotiating capabilities and experience in the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, although he criticized the diplomatic weakness of the current administration. He argued that not all of the country’s problems are related to sanctions or the JCPOA nuclear talks and that negotiations could improve the situation significantly.

Ali Agha-Mohammadi, a member of the Iranian Council for Convenience and Discrimination, recently admitted that the country’s economic situation is far from desirable, with at least 19.7 million Iranians deprived of decent housing and employment. Former Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Jawad Azari Jahromi criticized the Raisi government for failing to address social divisions, reduce inflation, and resolve the country’s investment market problems.

Although the hard-line daily Kayhan normally defends the Raishi government, former Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azali criticized the government’s economic situation openly in the newspaper, saying that housing costs are rising, the prices of essentials are rising, and the people are under pressure. Kayhan stated that the chaotic economic conditions reflected in the market could lead to growing public dissatisfaction.

Overall, Iranian media outlets, politicians, and celebrities have avoided pointing to US sanctions or the need for a deal with the US as the primary cause of the country’s economic crisis. Instead, they suggest that the government needs to improve its resource management policies and negotiate better deals. Low-income Iranians are a priority for the Islamic Republic, as the ideology of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei seeks to change the economic situation for their benefit.

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