A sharp rise in inflation has provoked fierce criticism of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, not only from his reformist opponents but also senior conservatives who helped bring him to power but now say he is mismanaging the economy. Ahmadinejad has tried to quell the critics by blaming the rising inflation on Iran's previous leaders, but economists and some fellow conservatives say it's his policies that have led to the higher prices. Over the past month, the price of basic commodities has suddenly jumped. A kilogram (about 2 pounds) of chicken has increased 35 percent to US$2.44, and rice is up 43 percent, selling for US$2.12 a kilogram. Prices for fruit and vegetables have almost tripled in the past year and housing prices have more than doubled since last summer.