“Inflation Prevalent All Over the World”
While many of the country’s officials blame the Ahmadinejad Administration’s “weak management” for current “economic problems,” Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, defended Ahmadinejad in a speech in Shiraz, claiming that inflation is “prevalent all over the world” and dismissing economic problems as “enemy’s” exaggeration.
According to the text of this speech, which was published by IRNA, Fars, and ISNA news agencies, the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader downplayed the nation’s economic woes: “The enemy is waiting to use any problem to break the will of the Iranian nation. Even natural disasters, even earthquakes, droughts or other things like high prices, which are prevalent all over the world, are being used as tools to pressure the Iranian nation and officials, and people must be clever about this. Last year too the enemy was trying to disrupt the country’s economy and exaggerate the problems. The main way to combat present economic problems is to have financial discipline, conserve, and refrain from indulgence.”
Ayatollah Khamenei’s remarks come at time when many of the Islamic Republic’s officials have blasted the government in recent weeks, particularly in regards to inflation. Last week, ex-finance minister and one of Ayatollah Khamenei’s representatives in the Expediency Council, Davoud Danesh-Jafari, blasted the administration for failing to control inflation. He said, among other things, “Can one except the Central Bank to inject about to 60 billion Dollars into the economy - based on the 2007-2008 budget law - without any inflationary consequences on the economy?! If anyone knows how to do that, he is welcome to try. Or, can you inject cash into the economy without increasing inflation?! If anyone can do that, he is welcome to try.”
In a separate speech, prominent Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, told members of the Imam Khomeini Charity Fund: “People complain about inflation to us from all over the country. They think if we bring up these issues we are weakening the government, but that is not true. We believe the government is good but we must help it. The housing crisis is getting out of control and people are enraged by other issues as well. If economic problems are not solved they turn into political and cultural problems.”
Another Grand Ayatollah, Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardebili, noted, “The resent inflation is not about perceptions or slogans, but is a well-known reality. Today, all segments of society are feeling the weight of inflation.”
In addition, prominent conservative cleric and representative of Tehran in the Assembly of Experts, Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani, criticized the Ahmadinejad administration’s handling of inflation and “blaming of problems” on others. In a meeting of Friday prayer leaders at the Mottahari Mosque, Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani said, “In my meeting with Mr. Ahmadinejad, I told him not to use us like tools. We were combatants before and after the revolution and will fight whatever is against the interests of our religion and country.”