Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said Sunday that the country’s poor economic situation was not only due to international sanctions but also to government mismanagement.
“Wrong decisions and shortcomings” were part of the reason for the Islamic republic’s “unsatisfactory” economic data, he said about the decade from March 2011 to last year.
Indicators such as “GDP growth, capital formation, inflation, housing and liquidity growth were not satisfactory,” Khamenei said.
“The main cause of these problems is not only sanctions, but also wrong decisions and shortcomings,” he told a meeting with economic officials.
“If the authorities had cooperated more with the producers in these 10 years, the damage would have been less, and the successes would have been greater,” he added in an implicit attack on former president Hassan Rouhani’s governments from 2013 to 2021.
Iran, which last year elected President Ebrahim Raisi, has been hit by severe economic sanctions imposed in 2018 by the United States, and has seen its inflation rate surge to close to 60 percent.
Khamenei criticized the high prices and low quality of some home-made products, especially cars.
He also charged that “despite the government’s support,” the price of some domestically-produced home appliances had doubled.
Iran has witnessed a number of protest rallies in the past few weeks by civil servants, including from the judiciary, against tough economic conditions.
Regarding companies operating despite the sanctions, Khamenei said that “we have successful examples and businesses that did not wait for the lifting of sanctions.”
Iran has been negotiating in Vienna — directly with Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, and indirectly with the United States — to revive its tattered 2015 nuclear deal.
The landmark agreement offered Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
But the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from it in 2018 under then-president Donald Trump and reimposed biting economic sanctions on Iran.