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

Somalia: No Popular Elections in 2016

In interview Wednesday with VOA, President Mohamud says 'one person, one vote' elections will not be possible due to continuing insecurity More

Scientists Predict Climate Change Will Increase Child Malnutrition

Public health expert in Germany says that by 2050, 25 million more children's lives will be put at risk because of lack of nutrients tied to climate change More

Erdogan in China Amid Tensions on Uighurs, Missile System

Turkey's president has criticized China's heavy-handed policies toward Uighurs in violence-plagued Xinjiang region, where China says it is fighting foreign-backed separatists 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs