Home iran IRGC Chief Defends Raisi Despite President’s Troubled Economic Legacy

IRGC Chief Defends Raisi Despite President’s Troubled Economic Legacy

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Amidst Iran’s economic woes, the chief commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) says that the country’s recently deceased President “saved” the country from sanctions.

“[President Ebrahim Raisi] began reopening closed factories, visited deprived areas, and enhanced the status of the Islamic Republic internationally,” Hossein Salami said on Saturday.

On May 19, Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian were killed in a helicopter crash near the border of Azerbaijan.

Raisi, who began his tenure as president three years ago, faced significant criticism from observers regarding his economic team, with many calling for a cabinet reshuffle to address the issues. Raisi largely ignored these concerns, consistently asserting that the economy was on a growth trajectory.

In the weeks preceding Raisi’s death, the criticism intensified further as many critics within Iran, including politicians, clerics, and academics, consistently voiced concerns about inefficiency, mismanagement, and negligence within his administration.

Among state figures, the former chairman of Iran’s central bank harshly criticized the hardliner government of Raisi for creating three-digit inflation of food prices and the impoverishment of tens of millions of people “while Iran has the biggest combined oil and gas reserves in the world.”

According to some insiders and critics in Iran who are generally permitted to comment publicly, Iran’s short-term economic outlook is bleak. Since January, the national currency has devalued further, increasing inflation to around 50 percent.

“We can hear the sound of people’s bones breaking,” said former Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, emphasizing the severity of soaring prices. “The government must listen to the people’s voices and address their grievances,” he said.

One of the highest-ranking clerics in the theocracy, Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, also addressed Raisi on issues such as escalating food costs, declining purchasing power, and volatile exchange rates, asserting that “the government must address these challenges.”