Amir Taheri reports on how the economic crisis in Iran is causing problems for the president:
Mr. Ahmadinejad centered his 2005 presidential campaign on a promise to “bring the country’s oil money to every family’s dinner table.” After the election his position was boosted by a dramatic rise in oil prices, providing him with more than $100 million a day in state revenues. And, yet, all official statistics show that, with inflation running around 18% and unemployment jumping to more than 30%, the average Iranian is worse off than three years ago. Under the previous administration of President Mohammad Khatami, the Islamic Republic scored average annual economic growth rates of around 4%. In a nation that needs to create a million new jobs to cope with its exploding demography, that kind of growth was certainly not enough to point to any Eldorado anytime soon. But it was enough to prevent the economy from sinking. Under President Ahmadinejad, however, the growth rate has dropped to around 3%–and that despite rising oil revenues.