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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid