Rouhani Fires Back at Criticism of Economic Management

By Arash Karami, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

The price of oil dropped to $31.56 per barrel on Jan. 11, a 12-year low. While the news has been tough on all oil-exporting countries, perhaps no one feels the pressure more than Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, who is hoping that the February parliamentary elections will bring about a more cooperative parliament in the second half of his presidency.

Many Iranians who voted for Rouhani hoping he would resolve the nuclear crisis and end the country’s international sanctions are still awaiting the implementation of the nuclear deal. Rouhani has previously said the implementation of the deal and the removal of sanctions would take place in January. Mehdi Jahangiri, a member of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, said Jan. 12 that sanctions on Iran would be removed Jan. 15. He predicted 6% growth rate for Iran’s economy once the sanctions are removed.

While Iranians heading to the polls in February will certainly not feel the impact of the sanctions’ removal, Rouhani continues to remind Iranians that the economy is in good hands despite the dramatic fall in oil prices.

At a Jan. 11 ceremony for the inauguration of phases 15 and 16 of the South Pars gas fields, Rouhani addressed conservative critics who have been trying to name his administration the “administration of [economic] downturn.” Rouhani said, “We must not speak of [economic] downturn. The administration is managing the country with oil at $30, not $147.”

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