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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More