Prominent critic calls on Raisi to step down amid economic crisis
The editor of one of Tehran’s main pro-regime newspapers has called on President Ebrahim Raisi to step down if he cannot solve Iran’s economic problems.
While rising bread prices have turned even some of Raisi’s supporters against him, Massih Mohajeri, the editor of the Jomhouri Eslami (Islamic Republic) newspaper which usually criticizes administration policy, wrote in an op-ed on Saturday “Now that it’s become clear that you can’t solve the problems, courageously step down and leave the work to those who can and save people from this dangerous quagmire.”
The loaded editorial that “the media close to the administration characterizes those who criticize you for the problems you have created as counter-revolutionaries who work for Israel and the United States”. He went on to say that some of Raisi’s supporters were also protesting government policies.
Mohajeri further asked, “The president should say how much time he needs to understand that problems cannot be solved just by talking and the government cannot be run that way.” He added: “Blaming all the shortages on the smugglers is not a solution”, and if that is the problem, why is the government not arresting them.
Ukraine and nuclear talks with the United States
“If the problem of flour shortage is caused by the war in Ukraine, why don’t you condemn Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and try to prevent Vladmir Putin from continuing the invasion , which threatens the livelihoods of much of the world? Mohajeri asked Raisi.
He also asked Raisi why he was not doing anything to reach an agreement with the United States. “You said you would not tie the fate of the country to the [nuclear] negotiations, but by doing nothing you have created new problems for the nation. »
Raisi receiving his presidential seal of approval from Khamenei on August 3, 2021.
Many in Iran know that it is Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who decides key foreign policy and other state matters, but the semi-official media would dare not blame the economic crisis directly on Khamenei.
Mohajeri addressed Raisi that “if the instability of the government and the current dangerous situation were not created by infiltrators, then they must be attributed to the mismanagement of your ministers of economy”.
He recalled that the price of bread in Iran had not increased even during the war with Iraq in the 1980s. He warned that the increase in the price of flour and the rationing of bread were tantamount to setting fires with gunpowder. Additional warning that there are multiple individuals affiliated with the Deviant Group [jargon referring to those close to former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad]Mohajeri accused these elements of trying to overthrow the current government and asked Raisi to take this warning seriously.
The economic crisis is the main subject of the media
On Saturday, most Tehran newspapers, which are usually silent on economic issues, covered the shortage of such stories in lengthy articles, although the government’s own newspaper, Iran, and according to the extremist daily Khorasan that people were happy with the situation and “more than 62% of Iranians said they were happy with the government’s performance in a poll taken before the unusual rise in the price of bread”.
Meanwhile, Mostafa Hashemi Taba, a former presidential candidate, said in an interview published by the Didban Iran website that “the Raisi administration has totally lost its social capital”. He said the government wanted to be portrayed as a revolutionary government abroad, but wanted to adopt liberal economic policies at home. He said there are only two solutions to the problem: either the government should be able to apportion all the needs of the people, or it must resort to rationing essentials.
Meanwhile, economist Hossein Raghfar told the Khabar Online website that the government’s policy on bread is not transparent. He dismissed official statements about the smuggling of flour out of Iran as a “fabrication” and argued that the problem is the decline in the value of the currency, which he says has fallen from 10,000 rials per dollar to 35,000 rials in 2011, and 30,000 rials in January. 2018 to 320,000 rials in January 2021. He accused the wealthy in power of benefiting from all these changes while ignoring the interests of ordinary Iranians.