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Iranian newspaper acknowledges nation’s economic woes in rare admission

An editorial run on Monday, June 13, in Iran’s Resalat newspaper openly acknowledged the dire economic situation of the country and the Iranian government.

“The closure of ARJ factory after 60 years of economic work sounded alarm bells in the business world”, said the paper in reference to the closure of factories and manufacturing units in Iran. “More than 7 thousand production units in industrial cities have recently been closed. High expense has increased [business] concerns”.

Further admitting that Iran’s economy is experiencing stagflation, a combination of slow or nonexistent economic growth, high rates of inflation, and consistently high unemployment, the newspaper wrote: “the country’s official statistics confirm [that this process is occurring]. A collective of evidence shows that Iran’s economy is in stagflation since 2011 and this situation has been exacerbated since 2012”.

The admission was a major move from the conservative daily, whose stated mission is to “spread the words of God, and [Shia] thought in order to establish God’s will” and who enjoys close ties with the ruling Islamic Coalition.

Regarding the Rouhani government’s economic policies, the paper wrote that they have “increased the inflation rate and destroyed the business environment”, considerably damaging the robustness and reputation of Iranian business.

“Production is now costly and unprofitable, and, most importantly, it has become non-competitive. Naturally, this process reduced economic growth”.

This is in contrast to President Hassan Rouhani’s campaign promise to improve the country’s economic situation in his first 100 days in office.

“Economic freedom is one of the indicators of an improved business environment,” the paper went on. “Statistics show that our situation is not appropriate in this field. Iran’s economic freedom ranking dropped in 2014. When you speak with Iranian entrepreneurs, they say they are not protected, they are unfairly taxed, the market is stagnant, there is no oversight of brokers, bank loans are breaking our backs, we are unable to compete with contraband products, and excessive imports have mssed up all equations.”

“Laws are run according to taste and there is discrimination and injustice. Blackmail and bribe by government officials leave no energy for production. Lack of legal protection and lack of legal security, lack of cooperation by government agencies in providing facilities, and obstruction in obtaining licenses are among the obstacles of improving business in Iran and the government has so far failed to remove the obstacles the producers are facing.”

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