TEHERAN, Iran — Iran's opposition leader said the country's president would be unable to successfully implement a plan to slash energy and food subsidies, cutbacks that experts have argued will only compound Iran's economic troubles.
Mir Hossein Mousavi was quoted by a prominent opposition Web site as saying that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government has sidelined experts who would have been key to enacting the plan aimed at saving the government billions of dollars by bringing prices of key commodities more in line with international norms.
"Generally speaking, no one is against the subsidy cut plan, but our view is that there is no (competent) figure to manage this plan," Mousavi was quoted as saying in a post Monday on sahamnews.org. "Most prominent and competent experts have been sidelined."
Mousavi, in comments that came Sunday, also criticized the government for stationing police and security forces around the Iranian capital ahead of the implementation of the subsidy cuts. He said the heavy security presence was intended to intimidate Iranians.
Ahmadinejad has been criticized for his handling of the economy, with opposition leaders saying he squandered much of the country's oil wealth on populist projects.