AFP: Iran’s hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hit back at his critics, saying they were less intelligent than goats in comments carried by a reformist newspaper on Sunday. TEHRAN (AFP) Iran’s hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hit back at his critics, saying they were less intelligent than goats in comments carried by a reformist newspaper on Sunday.
Ahmadinejad “has harshly criticised ‘the ones who mock the popular approach of the government and the president with an intellectual attitude’,” Etemad Melli reported.
“Ahmadinejad described these people’s understanding as less than a goat’s,” the report said, adding the president had made the comments during a trip this week to northeastern province of South Khorasan.
Ahmadinejad, who ran on a bread-and-butter platform to distribute Iran’s oil riches more evenly, has come under fire from both reformists and conservatives over his economic policies and his government’s handling of Iran’s nuclear dossier.
Many economists in Iran have accused Ahmadinejad of stoking inflation by ploughing windfall revenues from high oil prices into local infrastructure projects promised on provincial visits.
Ahmadinejad, who has started a second round of visits to Iran’s 30 provinces, was seen handing out dolls and bicycles to children in South Khorasan where he also held hours of one-on-one meetings with local people.
In his previous provincial tour, he reportedly pledged 1,700 billion rials (180 million dollars) in direct aids or loans to people.
The latest criticism has come from his reformist predecessor Mohammad Khatami who accused the government of “ignorance and lack of expertise.”
But the government insists it is merely fulfilling Ahmadinejad’s election promises of making ordinary people feel the benefits of oil wealth and has inflation under control.
Since Ahmadinejad was elected in June 2005, Iran has been slapped with two sets of UN Security Council sanctions as well as unilateral US sanctions over its refusal to halt sensitive nuclear work, which the West fears is a cover for atomic weapons development.