Iran's outgoing economy minister blames Ahmadinejad for economic woes

Iran's outgoing economy minister is blaming President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's policies and mismanagement for high inflation and growing economic hardships in the Islamic republic, according to comments published in Iranian newspapers Wednesday. The hardline president failed to listen to opinions and solutions offered by experts, which only added to the country's economic woes, said the outgoing minister, Davoud Danesh Jafari. Subsequently, a huge increase in liquidity injected into the country as a result of high oil prices and lowering bank interest rates fed the wild inflation further, Jafari asserted. Jafari made the biting comments Tuesday, his last day on the job as economy minister. He was replaced by Ahmadinejad this week, apparently over policy differences, and named presidential adviser - a ceremonial post that carries no weight. Ahmadinejad is being challenged not only by reformers but by some of the same conservatives who paved the way for his stunning 2005 election victory. Three years on, even conservatives say Ahmadinejad has concentrated too much on fiery, anti-US rhetoric and not enough on the economy - and they have lately become more vocal in calling him to account.