Sunday, July 08, 2007

Iran about to become even more repressive?

Iran's official news agencies often sound like the voice of a government that long ago crushed all opposition. This isn't true, evidently, but Iran seems to keep taking steps in that direction. According to the Guardian:
Allies of Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have accused the media of trying to depose him in a "creeping coup", raising fears of a fresh clampdown on opposition newspapers and websites.

The accusation, from the president's allies, coincides with disclosures that Mr Ahmadinejad has authorised aides to establish a special team to counter "black propaganda against the government".
It is thus interesting that Mehr News, not a website known for even admitting that Ahmadinejad has critics, is reporting that Ahmadinejad is meeting with critical "economic experts":
President Mahmud Ahmadinejad will hold a “frank and friendly” debate with a number of economic experts who have criticized his government’s economic policies, the press department of the presidential office said on Sunday.

The meeting will take place at the president office on Thursday at 16:30 local time.

The press department said the president will elaborate on his government’s economic policies and will discuss the opportunities and challenges facing his government.

Last month, 57 economists signed an open letter warning about the government’s economic policies.

The president office said it has invited all the signatories of letter to meet the president on Thursday afternoon.

In an earlier announcement on June 25, the president expressed his readiness to meet experts who warned his economic policies risked plunging the country into financial chaos.

The experts claimed the economic policies have fuelled inflation, hurt the poor and laid the seeds of future crises.

The letter - whose signatories included former economic advisers to previous governments and an ex-head of the Tehran stock exchange - also accused the government of lavishing Iran's oil revenues into ill-conceived projects while masking its economic failures behind falsified statistics.

"The price of decisions that have no scientific basis is very high and irreversible, in particular for those who are worst off," the letter said.
Elsewhere on Mehr, we see the usual presentations of the Government line:
The head of the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization (IIDO) said Sunday that gasoline rationing will prevent the depletion of national resource.

Hojjatoleslam Seyyed Mehdi Khamushi added that gasoline rationing helped people perceive the value of fuel and use it appropriately. [...]
Are Iranians about to take great leaps forward in appreciating the "value of fuel"? Stay tuned.

Update: "President: Fuel rationing, a timely, proper tactic to thwart enemies plots"

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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