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Khamenei expressed criticism on the economic policy of government

Tue, 21.03.2017 12:53



Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on March 20 the government’s economic policies had fallen short and called for a new “resistance economy” to create jobs, piling pressure on the president before May elections.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, hardliners led by Khamenei have repeatedly criticised President Hassan Rouhani, particularly for the terms of a nuclear deal he reached with world powers which lifted economic sanctions and was supposed to boost the economy.

“I feel the pain of the poor and lower class people with my soul, especially because of high prices, unemployment and inequalities,” Khamenei said in his New Year’s message.

“The government has taken positive steps but they do not meet people’s expectations and mine,” he added, setting out a clear battle line before the presidential vote.

The New Year, or Nowruz, is the country’s most important national event, which involves large family gatherings, gifts for children and vacations.

Unemployment stood at 12.4% in this fiscal year, according to the Statistical Center of Iran, up 1.4% from the previous year. About 3.2 million Iranians are jobless, out of a total population of 80 million, reported Reuters.

“I call the new year a year of resistance economy, production and employment,” Khamenei said in the pre-recorded video broadcast on state television.

According to Reuters, Khamenei’s latest criticism came as a number of prominent political figures, including Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the head of a body that selects Iran’s supreme leader, also criticised Rouhani for his economic policies.

“Mr. Rouhani can’t expect the Supreme Leader to take his side in the elections. The past has shown that the position of the Supreme Leader is more independent,” said Saeed Leylaz, a Tehran-based political analyst who worked as an adviser to former president Mohammad Khatami.

“After this new year period Mr. Rouhani can expect to face a lot of pressure and criticism.”

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