Rouhani touts meeting with top economists on containing crisis

Al-Monitor – In a closed three-hour meeting with 40 Iranian economists on Oct. 15, President Hassan Rouhani insisted that the country’s economy is not in crisis, but acknowledged that it’s not in “normal conditions” either. “Despite the hardships, this period shall pass,” Rouhani said, praising his government’s “precise planning,” which he asserted will counter “US policies in the long run.”

Rouhani highlighted the importance of “revitalizing hope in the society to defeat the enemies” in what he described as a “psychological and economic war” waged on Iran. Defending his government’s performance, he traced the roots of the economy’s “chronic diseases” in the years before he took office, but promised that the nation will face no issues with basic supplies even under tougher circumstances.

Still, Rouhani’s remarks and the circumstances surrounding the meeting prompted fury from some hard-liners. “The news coming out of the meeting is all about the president’s remarks,” complained Javan, a hard-line paper affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Javan’s editorial expressed dismay at the perceived media blackout and raised suspicions about the absence of First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri. “Economists who oppose the government’s policies were also absent and it’s not clear whether they were ignored or whether they decided not to show up. [Even] the top experts supportive of the government were absent and that means [the meeting was about] nothing.”

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