News / Middle East

Ahmadinejad Deflects Criticism as Rial Spirals

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (June 21, 2012 file photo)Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (June 21, 2012 file photo)
x
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (June 21, 2012 file photo)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (June 21, 2012 file photo)
As the Iranian rial continued to tumble to new lows on Tuesday, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attempted to deflect internal criticism that his policies are contributing to the decline.

During a press conference in Tehran, he blamed “psychological pressures” linked to Western sanctions and criticized other politicians who have said the collapse of the currency has been worsened by his economic policies.

Ahmadinejad directly named parliament speaker Ali Larijani who said 80 percent of Iran’s economic problems are a result of government mismanagement and only 20 percent because of sanctions. Western sanctions have severely restricted Iran’s ability to sell oil on the world market and limited its access to the international banking system.

"The speaker should help the government overcome the problem instead of accusing the administration," Ahmadinejad told reporters his first news conference since returning from the U.N. General Assembly.

Larijani is among the possible candidates for next June's presidential elections that will select Ahmadinejad's successor.

Other politicians have called for Ahmadinejad to appear before lawmakers to answer questions about the rial’s decline. According to the parliament’s website, one member, Mohammad Bayatian, claimed to have enough signatures to force Ahmadinejad to provide answers.

Bringing Ahmadinejad before the parliament would not be without precedent. Earlier this year, he was called before the 290-seat body to answer questions about his public feud with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni. 

In the press conference, Ahmadinejad referred to Western sanctions, saying they are part of a "heavy battle" that has succeeded in driving down oil exports "a bit," but he provided no data.

He also claimed Iran has enough hard currency to meet the country's needs.

The falling rial appears to indicate otherwise, as it hit a low of 35,000 rials to the dollar Tuesday. On Sunday, the rial traded at 29,500 to the dollar, and two years ago, it was about 10,000 to the dollar.

Alex Vatanka, a scholar at the Middle East Institute said it was interesting that the Iranian regime seems surprised by the effect of economic sanctions.

“The Iranian public has taken the sanctions seriously,” he said. “They have taken their money out of the banks, and I can tell you a lot of people have bought property and gold.”

Iranians started to react to Ahmadinejad’s public comments on social media from the beginning of the press conference, which was being broadcast live on Iran’s state television. Many users were critical of the government’s policies and expressed concern for the future.

Fakhri Mohtashamipour, the wife of a former deputy minister who is now in prison, wrote “I feel pity for the people of Iran.”


Mana Neyestani's cartoon about the fall of the Iranian rial has been widely circulated on social media.Mana Neyestani's cartoon about the fall of the Iranian rial has been widely circulated on social media.
x
Mana Neyestani's cartoon about the fall of the Iranian rial has been widely circulated on social media.
Mana Neyestani's cartoon about the fall of the Iranian rial has been widely circulated on social media.
Some users mocked the Iranian president calling the conference “stand up comedy” while others expressed concern over the amount of finger pointing.

The currency situation has gotten so bad that one Iranian from Qom told VOA that when they were trying to buy an external hard drive, the shopkeeper insisted on payment in dollars.

Qom is home to Iran’s religious leaders and is widely viewed as a city somewhat insulated from wider economic problems.

“Clearly the dollar is in short supply,” said Vatanka. “It might start with a hard drive, but perhaps someday medicine could be sold for dollars.  We’ve really walked into a whole new phase in this [nuclear] standoff.”

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: carole douaire from: Ontario Canada
October 25, 2012 1:32 AM
If Iran government would just let the inspectors in, things would be fine. What are they afraid of? What are they trying to hide? Why are they risking the well being of their citizens.. This is not a game! If the government has nothing to hide and what they are doing is legitimate, they should not risk the lives of their people...PEOPLE OF IRAN~~~~Your leaders are lunitics and care nothing about you. As a natural born Canadian who is allowed to read news from every country, and watch anything I choose to watch on TV and Cable, I am very worried for my friends in Iran...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid