Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Economic Wrecking Ball

RFE-RL looks at how Iran's economy has suffered under Mahmood Ahmadinejad:
"Within the general population, sharp price rises and a lower standard of living in Iran under Ahmadinejad's administration have made his policies unpopular. In recent months, a number of significant protests and strikes by workers and employees over low or unpaid wages have been reported in Iran.

"Perhaps the most vivid example of unrest came in the form of well-attended protests and demonstrations organized by Iranian teachers in March and April 2007 to call for higher wages.

"The protests were confronted by the government, and hundreds of teachers across the country were arrested and detained...

"While the government says the inflation rate is currently between 12 and 13 percent, sources like Iran's Parliament Research Center indicate that the number is up around 20 percent...

"An open letter signed by 57 economists from around the country and issued in June lambasted Ahmadinejad's economic policies and accused him of 'ignoring the basic principles of economy.' The university professors warned in the letter that 'government mismanagement is inflicting a huge cost on the economy and underscore that high oil revenues over the last two years can only delay the imminent economic crisis.'

"That crisis was not long in coming. On June 26, angry Iranians attacked several gas stations to protest the government's suddenly imposition of long-threatened new limits fuel rationing. The Oil Ministry announced the start of the new rationing regime just three hours before it was due to begin at midnight, and the rush of the car owners seeking one last chance to fill up appeared to spark the violence."



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