Iran's president-elect criticizes outgoing leader

AP , Monday 15 Jul 2013

President Hasan Rouhani slams the economic policies of the previous administration and calls members of parliament for 'close cooperation' to overcome Iran's serious difficulties

Iran's president-elect on Monday leveled his first criticism of the outgoing administration since June's election, saying it has mismanaged the country's economy.

Several newspapers quoted Hasan Rouhani as saying his team of experts see the government's economic assessments as sugar-coated, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as having left much work to be done.

"We asked current officials about the situation of the country but their reports and those of our teams were very far from each other," he said in remarks published by the pro-reform Shargh daily.

Despite Ahmadinejad's claims of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, he added, only an average 14,000 were created annually over the 2006 to 2012 period.

Inflation, he said, actually stands at 42 percent and not the officially reported 32 percent. On Sunday, the central bank put the rate at nearly 36 percent.

In a meeting with members of parliament late Sunday, Rouhani urged for close cooperation between his office and parliament in order to overcome the country's serious difficulties.

"Today, the country has a difficult and complicated situation partly because of domestic policies and partly because of unfair foreign pressures," he said in the published remarks.

Iran has been hit with several series of international sanctions over its disputed nuclear program, which the West suspects has a military dimension. Iran denies the charge.

Rouhani, who assumes office on Aug. 3, regularly criticized Ahmadinejad during his presidential campaign. He won nearly 51 percent of the votes in last month's election.

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