Iran lawmaker: We can't dismiss effects of sanctions

Conservative MP says Tehran shouldn't deem sanctions "torn-up paper," but also blames govt mismanagement for economic chaos.

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October 17, 2012 18:11
2 minute read.
Iran currency exchange

Iran sanctions 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi)

 
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An influential conservative Iranian lawmaker said on Wednesday that Iran should not dismiss the effects of sanctions.

MP Kazem Jalali, the spokesman for Iran’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission and chairman of Iran’s Majlis (Parliament) Research Center, said that Tehran “should not have deemed sanctions as ‘torn-up paper,’ according to a report by conservative news site Khabar Online.

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Jalali, who will head Iran’s negotiating team later this month during a European Parliament delegation visit to Tehran, said that the government was to a certain degree able to put plans in place that could deal with sanctions.

Last month, Jalali called for constitutional change to expand Iran’s private sector, which he said would help offset the effects of sanctions.

While government planning could not completely solve the issues caused by sanctions, leaders must still undertake such plans, he added, noting that sanctions were not a new problem for Iran but had been imposed since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Just as Iran must not dismiss the impact of sanctions, the government “must also not write off internal mismanagement as being because of sanctions,” Jalali said.

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Referring to Iran’s ‘chicken crisis’ – the soaring cost of chicken caused by the fall of Iran’s national currency and difficulties in importing chicken feed – Jalali said that before Ramadan, Iran blamed Western sanctions for high prices. Likewise, Tehran blamed the West for its currency market crisis, he said.

In reality, those problems were caused by “more than just sanctions,” Jalali said, hinting at criticisms that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had mismanaged the economy.

Jalali’s comments come days after he told Iran’s Farda News that his principlist Followers of Guardianship faction would likely back Ahmadinejad’s long-term rival, parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani, in next year’s presidential elections.

In a blistering attack on Ahmadinejad over the currency crisis this month, Larijani said that government mismanagement accounted for 80 percent of Iran’s economic problems.

Jalali’s remarks also come a day after the European Union imposed new sanctions on Iran over its disputed nuclear program.

The EU ratcheted up restrictions against Iran’s central bank and imposed sanctions against major Iranian government- owned oil and gas corporations, including the National Iranian Oil Company, a major source of state revenue.

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