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Iran: Rafsanjani criticizes govt. economic policy

TEHRAN, Aug. 12 (Mehr News Agency) - Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has criticized the government's economic policy in the last three years, saying, "We have been put up with the executive power in these three years."

In talks with businessmen from Khorasan Razavi province in Mashhad on Monday night, the former president said, "Today the government has been changed into a great employer and has entered into some economic activities which it has not been allowed to."

According to a timetable in the privatization plan and the Article 44 of the Constitution the government should have transferred all those activities which fall under the privatization plan within five years.

He said the 25-Year Outlook Plan which was drawn up under his presidency was a step by step plan which its implantation continued until the Khatami presidency.

However, he said, with the change of government it was clear that it will not "move in this line and we have been put up with the government in these three years."

Rafsanjani was a two-time president; he ruled from 1989 to 1997. Mohammad Khatami was also elected president for two consecutive terms from 1997 to 2005.

Rafsanjani said the Expediency Council is committed not to interfere in the affairs of the government and Majlis.

"Of course, we don't write plan so that they would be obliged to implement them."

He said the Expediency Council only draws up the general outlines of the country's plans.

He said the council suffers from an efficient tool in monitoring the implementation of the plans.

Rafsanjani disputed some figures released by government officials in implementing plans, saying, They report what they like and say that they are ahead of the development plans."

Cutting subsidies

Rafsanjani also said the economic reform plan must be done "gradually and step by step" and warned that a speedy implementation of the plan would create problems.

The economic reform plan is geared toward freeing up prices and paying subsidies in the form of cash to citizens.

The government is bent on implementing the plan in the second half of the current Iranian year which ends on March 22, 2009.

Currently, the Iran Statistics Center has distributed forms among the citizens asking them to fill them out to receive direct subsidies.

Rafsanjani said the moves toward cutting subsidies has reached an 'operational stage' and due care should be exercised so that a "sudden and unstudied cutting (of subsidies) will not lead to bleeding and destroy this important plan."

... Payvand News - 08/12/08 ... --

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