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Iran: Claims of High Economic Growth by Rouhani’s Government, Challenged by Khamenei’s Faction

NCRI – Claims of high economic growth made by Hassan Rouhani’s government have been severely attacked by political figures and media close to Iranian regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

Following the claim of an11.6 percent economic growth made by Rouhani’s Central Bank, economic experts described it as unbelievable while the rival band has doubted it as an election move.

According to state-run media on March 13, unlike last year in which the Central Bank refused to release any report on country’s economic growth, this year, however, the Central Bank released in the final days of the year the details of the economic growth, for current year as well as the past four years while changing the calculation method. According to Central Bank’s report, economic growth has been fluctuating between 3 percent in 2012 to 11.6 percent in the first six months of this year.

Khamenei’s Kayhan dedicated its main story to this issue, writing “once again the government broke the record, announcing an 11.6 percent economic growth on paper. The claim of economic growth and moving past recession is a repetitive, controversial story delivered by government officials to people every once in a while. According to Rouhani, we have repeatedly moved past recession! Comparing the announced figure with economic realities is contradictory and, of course, ridiculous enough to make people simply shook their heads in regret.”

Meanwhile state-run Nasim-Online news agency writes in this regard “an 11.6 percent economic growth is not credible. While 60 percent of the country’s industry is shutting down, economic growth without oil is meaningless. How is it that after 12 months, the Central Bank’s officials have all of a sudden remembered to announce last year’s negative growth?”

Also another newspaper close to the Revolutionary Guards writes “less than 70 days to presidential election, people still can’t feel nuclear deal’s concrete achievements.”

On the other hand, Rouhani’s government spokesman Nobakht responded to correspondents’ questions on the 11.6 percent economic growth, saying “you may ask how this growth has been achieved, but making kilos of generalized, irrelevant comments about it is not a scientific, expert approach.”

For the meantime, Rouhani’s vice president Eshaq Jahangiri confessed on Monday that “lifting sanctions was coincided with a sharp drop in oil prices last year, which has heavily affected government budget. The country is currently faced with major challenges in at least six areas, including unemployment, banking system, budget, and water resources.”

Also Rouhani’s economic advisor had said a while ago that despite increased oil exports following the lifting of sanctions, foreign exchange earnings have not increased significantly compared to last year.

Inconsistency between the released figures of economic growth and the regime’s economic realities has fueled the increased conflicts within the regime on the eve of the election show, demonstrating regime’s economic crisis.