Iran General NewsIran minister in parting shot on Ahmadinejad

Iran minister in parting shot on Ahmadinejad

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ImageAFP: Iran's outgoing economy minister has revealed that he opposed many of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's economic policies despite serving almost three years in his government, a magazine reported on Sunday.

ImageTEHRAN (AFP) — Iran's outgoing economy minister has revealed that he opposed many of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's economic policies despite serving almost three years in his government, a magazine reported on Sunday.

Economy and Finance Minister Davoud Danesh Jaafari, who has held his post since Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005, is expected to step down shortly, according to media reports.

"Mr Ahmadinejad and I did not have common views on some issues," he told the Shahrvand Emrouz weekly in an interview.

"I was critical of the policies which caused money supply growth," Danesh Jaafari said.

Ahmadinejad's key economic polices include funding local infrastructure projects promised on his trademark provincial trips and handing out interest free loans to the poor.

But economists have long complained that the injection of so much cash into the economy has caused money supply growth to surge to around 40 percent and directly triggered Iran's current high inflation of around 18 percent.

"There are still people in the cabinet and the parliament who say money supply growth has no bad consequences," said Danesh Jaafari, defending the accepted wisdom that money supply growth is a key indicator of future inflation.

Danesh Jaafari also took issue with Ahmadinejad's banking policies.

"Mr Ahmadinejad was very interested in turning all banks into interest free loans institutions. I and many economic experts stopped him from doing so," he said.

He added that Ahmadinejad, who has forced state and private banks to slash interest rates, was still determined to have one major bank operate only in no-interest loans.

The Mehr and Fars news agencies both reported that Danesh Jaafari would be stepping down on Tuesday and would be replaced by the head of the government's economic commission Hossein Samsani.

The government spokesman announced on April 9 that the economy and interior ministers would be resigning but the reshuffle has yet to take place amid criticism of the frequent changes to the Ahmadinejad cabinet.

Ahmadinejad, whose four-year term in office ends in summer 2009, vowed to distribute Iran's oil riches more evenly but his government has presided over a period of rising inflation and continued unemployment.

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