Iranian economists and analysts continued to criticize the Central Bank of Iran
on Sunday for poor reporting on the country’s skyrocketing inflation rate and
for failing to stabilize its currency.
On Saturday, the central bank
reported that the official inflation rate for the Iranian month of Shahrivar
(August 22-September 21) was 24 percent, an increase of just half a percentage
point over last month’s figure.
However, as political infighting between
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his conservative critics continues
over who is to blame for Iran’s economic crisis, Iranian analysts have warned
that real inflation figures could be as much as double the central bank
Dr. Mehdi Taghavi, a leading economist from Iran’s Allameh
Tabatabai University, said recently that Iran’s inflation rate is close to 50%,
according to Iran’s Labor News Agency.
Taghavi said that Iran’s inflation
is the highest in the Middle East, that its economy is shrinking and that the
country’s currency, the rial, has lost over 80% of its value in the past several
However, Western economists have been far less conservative about
their estimates of Iranian inflation.
Steve H. Hanke of Johns Hopkins
University warned recently that Iran is suffering from hyperinflation as a
result of sanctions. Using data from Iran’s foreign-exchange black market, Hanke
estimated that Iran’s monthly inflation rate has reached 69.6%.
Sunday, more influential Iranian economists and lawmakers criticized the central
bank’s role in the economic crisis.
News site Khabar Online, which is
close to Iran’s moderate conservatives and which has openly blamed the Iranian
government for mismanaging the economy, published an interview with economist
Ali Pakzad, who said the central bank had published erratic financial
information over the past three years.
That information was at odds with
other economic indicators and statistics published by the Statistics Center of
Iran, the government’s statistics and census organization, Khabar Online cited
Pakzad as saying.
Pakzad’s remarks come after the head of the Statistics
Center, Adel Azar, said in August that his organization disagreed with the
central bank over how it calculated the inflation rate and said the center would
send its inflation reports to officials confidentially until the end of the
current Iranian year.
Also on Sunday, Mohammadreza Pour-Ebrahimi, the
deputy head of Iran’s parliamentary Economic Commission, accused the central
bank of failing to maintain a stable currency.
Pour-Ebrahimi told Fars
News, which is affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, that bank
officials must stabilize the foreign exchange market, and that two of the major
factors in Iran’s economic crisis were the lack of working capital and an
Last week, Pour-Ebrahimi accused the central bank of
turning a blind eye to the large number of Iranians exchanging their savings
into foreign currencies over the past few months.