AFP: A powerful rival of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has slammed "trial and error" in government and pledged to supervise its policies more closely, the press reported on Tuesday.
TEHRAN (AFP) — A powerful rival of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has slammed "trial and error" in government and pledged to supervise its policies more closely, the press reported on Tuesday.
Former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani lamented the lack of progress the government has made in implementing privatisation and the "20-Year Outlook Plan," Iran's main long-term economic development plan.
Rafsanjani, who was defeated by Ahmadinejad in 2005 presidential elections, retains a considerable powerbase as head of both Iran's top arbitration body, the Expediency Council, and the elite clerical Assembly of Experts.
"In order to implement article 44 of the constitution and the Outlook Plan, there is a lot of emphasis on human resources and knowledge," Rafsanjani was quoted as saying by newspapers, including the Sarmayeh economic daily.
"This means that it is time trial and error comes to an end and we should move forward with a plan and direction, using expertise."
Article 44 of the Islamic republic's constitution speaks of private ownership in industry, agriculture and services. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also urged a quicker pace in privatisation.
Rafsanjani's emphasis on the importance of expertise recalls repeated complaints from critics that Ahmadinejad sidelined too many capable managers and replaced them with more pliant but less qualified staff.
The cleric, who has held powerful posts in the Islamic republic since its inception in 1979, vowed that his Expediency Council would step up its work in supervising the government.
"The Expediency Council will seek to have a precise assessment of how government bodies are committed to the Outlook Plan and the execution of general policies throughout the year," he said.
His intervention caps a turbulent month for Ahmadinejad who has been the target of an increasing broadside of criticism from top religious figures. including the head of the judiciary.
The president angered several figures in Iran with an extraordinary speech earlier this month in the clerical city of Qom where he accused his opponents of forming an economic and political mafia.
The sacking of the economy minister also provoked charges that Ahmadinejad was changing his cabinet too much and the fired minister also bit back with a bitter public attack on the president.