Senior Iranian Ayatollah Attacks Ahmadinejad
Ahmadinejad is feeling the heat at home.
Senior Iranian dissident cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, has attacked President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over nuclear issues and the economy.
The bold remarks came in a written statement by the 85-year-old, who was once in line to succeed Ruhollah Khomeini as supreme leader.
But he spent years under house arrest after falling out with Khomeini.
He said nuclear energy was Iran’s right, but questioned the way President Ahmadinejad had pursued it.
Using harsh and provocative language would provoke the enemy, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri said. Instead there should be negotiations.
…He said some gentlemen claimed inflation was only 13% in Iran, but everyone knew the cost of housing had risen more than 50%.
Ahmadinejad remains defiant saying the UN resolutions will not affect the economy although there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.
Strategy Page has more on the economic decline in Iran since the UN sanctions took effect last month:
After only a month the U.N. sanctions have already resulted in a further weakening of Iran’s already parlous economy, strained by corruption, low investment, and the diversion of enormous sums to sustain a military build-up and subsidize Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel. Oil production, the mainstay of the economy, has been adversely affected by the sanctions, which block the shipment of critical equipment and chemicals that sustain production and refining. While smuggling, and dealing with outlaw regimes such as North Korea, will enable the Iranians to get ’round many of the sanctions, the price of materials goes way up, further straining the country’s foreign exchange reserves.
The decline in economic activity has been marked. Trading on the country’s stock market, already depressed, has declined by nearly half since the U.N. action, and inflation had become severe, while the government is barely managing to pay its bills on time.