Ahmadinejad Distorted Iran Economic Record, Rohani Aide Says

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reports on his government’s achievements are “erroneous” and do not reflect the nation’s true economic situation, an aide to President-elect Hassan Rohani said.

Experts appointed by Rohani to review the state of the country’s economy are finding drastically different results from data given by Ahmadinejad, Akbar Torkan, head of the presidential transition team, told the Tehran-based Shargh newspaper in an interview published today.

Rohani, who is to be sworn in on Aug. 4, was elected last month after pledging to ease Iran’s economic and political isolation. During Ahmadinejad’s eight years in office, Iran was hit with intensifying international sanctions over its nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad’s government has “mistakenly or intentionally” quadrupled its actual track record on road construction, Torkan said. Its claims that hundreds of thousands of jobs were created during his tenure fail to take into account the number of people who lost their jobs, he said. On this basis, an average of just 14,000 jobs per year were created since 2006, he said.

Torkan also criticized last-minute and “rushed” actions by the outgoing president, including “transfer of assets, signing of new contracts and taking on new commitments,” Shargh reported.

‘Good Deeds’

Vice-President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi announced earlier this month that a large plot of land in the Iranian capital which had been devoted to exhibitions was being ceded to Iran’s national broadcasting organization. Rahimi said the move was “essential” as it will allow the broadcaster to expand “in the face of foreign-based media,” the Hamshahri newspaper reported July 10.

Ahmadinejad has also ordered the creation of a “Former President’s Office” in an effort to retain a presence even after Rohani takes over. The agency will be staffed by 25 people, consisting of a director, experts and others in charge of coordination and communication, local newspapers including Donya-e-Eqtesad said this month.

“Ahmadinejad’s government is rushing into making transfers and hiring people when it had eight years to do these things,” Torkan said. “Even if we say these are good decisions, it is not for Mr. Ahmadinejad to do all good deeds in the universe. He may leave some of it for Mr. Rohani to take on.”

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