LATEST: Rouhani Advisor: “Economic Situation of the Country is Worse than Previously Thought”

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President-elect Hassan Rouhani said Monday that it was not enough for Parliament and politicians to speak against the enemy. Instead, Iran needed to know the enemy and its plans.

Reiterating a concept used in his campaign, Rouhani told MPs that what was needed was “management” to help devise a response to the enemy’s plans, and that speaking and shouting against the enemy were “certainly not enough”.

He declared, “Today, the country has a difficult and complicated situation partly because of domestic policies and partly because of unfair foreign pressures.”

Latest Updates, From Top to Bottom

Rouhani Advisor: “Economic Situation of the Country is Worse than Previously Thought”

An advisor to Hassan Rouhani has reinforced the President-elect’s message (see earlier entry) about mismanagement and problems, saying, @The economic situation of the country is worse than previously thought.”

Akbar Torkan, a former Minister of Defense and Minister of Oil under Presidents Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad, is in charge of the transition from the Ahmadinejad administration to Rouhani’s.

Saying that one of the primary challenges of the new Government will be to “secure basic goods”, Torkan blasted the current President’s camp:

We all saw that they were partners in Ahmadinejad’s policies. Okay, stand like a man and say, “We made a mistake.”…You mean this economic situation that is so deplorable in this country, only Ahmadinejad is at fault? This is not acceptable.

The Rouhani advisor said the budget for 2013/14 is unrealistic — neither the earnings nor the conditions attached to it”, accusing the Government of securing funds for support payments for subsidy cuts “from illegal places”. He said, “Rouhani’s first challenge immediately when he takes office will be [the subsidies],” including the raising of energy prices.


Rouhani Points to Scale of Economic Problems, Blames Ahmadinejad Government

President-elect Hassan Rouhani, trying to assert control over economic matters even before his inauguration, has declared that problems are greater than admitted by the Ahmadinejad administration.

“We asked current officials about the situation of the country but their reports and those of our teams were very far from each other,” Rouhani said in remarks published by the pro-reform daily Shargh.

Rouhani challenged President Ahmadinejad’s claims of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, saying only 14,000 were created annually between 2006 and 2012.

Inflation, Rouhani said, is 42% per year —- above the previously-reported 32% and the Central Bank’s estimate on Sunday of almost 36%.)

Iran Looks Back on Failure of “Islamic Awakening” in Egypt

With the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian military, Iranian officials are making some telling comments about the failure of the “Islamic Awakening” in Cairo.

Soon after the 2011 uprising that toppled the Mubarak regime, the Supreme Leader proclaimed an “Islamic Awakening” in which Egypt and other countries in the “Arab Spring” would follow the model of Iran’s 1979 Revolution. In particular, they hailed an alliance with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

Instead, both the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces and the Brotherhood-backed Morsi Government maintained a cautious approach toward Iranian advances. The relationship was strained by the Syrian conflict: in August 2012, Morsi embarrassed Tehran when he told the Iran-hosted conference of the Non-Aligned Movement of the “bloodshed” caused by the Islamic Republic’s ally in Damascus.

“We thought the Muslim Brotherhood would take a different approach with regard to Israel,” a senior Iranian diplomat said on Saturday. “Syria was one reason for falling apart, but we had many other commons to agree, though this didn’t happen.”

“There was a need for a clear stance,” the diplomat continued. “The Brotherhood refused all our offers to enhance ties, they dealt with us in a hostile manner.”

He said of Morsi’s visit to Iran, “It was meant to change history but the Egyptian president gave us the impression that he was [former Egyptian leader Anwar] Sadat visiting Israel.”

As for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Cairo, “The visit gave us a clear indication that the old Muslim Brotherhood had changed, and not only them but even some of our close allies who are affiliated with them.”

The diplomat concluded:

The Muslim Brotherhood regime was not different from Mubarak. They didn’t cut relations with Israel, President Morsi calls the Israeli president “my dear friend” and moreover, they incited hatred among Muslims. How are we going to support them?

We respect the Muslim Brotherhood as a group, as an ideology, history, struggle, but not the current leadership.

Rouhani Vows To End Bickering Between Legislative, Executive Branches

President-elect Hassan Rouhani has promised to put a stop to the constant feuding between the legislative and executive branches of government Mehr reports.

“The future government will not think of confrontation with parliament, nor will it think of, God forbid, fooling parliament with inaccurate statistics…Certainly solving the country’s problems will not be possible without cooperation between parliament and the executive branch,” Rouhani told deputies in a speech late Sunday.

Caption Competition

On Sunday, the Supreme Leader held a farewell meeting with the Cabinet of outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

According to Press TV, Ayatollah Khamenei said, “Some…deny the administration’s concrete actions, but what matters is that the efforts and attempts be expressed and recorded in the country’s public scene.”

But what do you think should be the caption on this farewell photograph?


Diplomat Released from Prison

Veteran Iranian diplomat Bagher Asadi has been freed after nearly four months in prison.

The reason for the imprisonment of the 71-year-old Asadi, an ally of former President Mohammad Khatami and a senior diplomat at Iran’s United Nations mission, was never given.