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30. Jan 2007

Ahmadinejad i knibe - Bush til undsætning

Iraneren Ali Ansari fortæller i dagens Guardian, at Ahmadinejad er ved at løbe ind i alvorlige problemer:

Magten og æren er steget ham til hovedet, hans modstandere gør grin med ham, og hans tilhængere beskylder ham for at svigte, fordi hans valgløfter om at bekæmpe fattigdom og korruption ikke har ført noget som helst med sig:
His critics argue that not only does he appear to have courted the anger of the US, but his economic mismanagement and political nepotism have weakened the internal integrity of the Islamic republic - and proved to be a gift to Iran's enemies.

Ahmadinejad was elected on a platform of anti-corruption and financial transparency, and few appreciated how rapidly he was intoxicated with the prerogatives of his office. He very soon forgot the real help he had received in ensuring his election, basking in the belief that God and the people had put him in power. Ahmadinejad soon had a view for all seasons: uranium enrichment. Of course Iran would pursue this, and what's more, sell it on the open market at knockdown rates. As for interest rates, they were far too high for the ordinary borrower, so cut them immediately.

None of this might matter so much, if the president had based his rhetorical flourishes on solid policies. But much to everyone's surprise nothing dramatic materialised. Ahmadinejad appeared to follow the dictum of his mentor, Ayatollah Khomeini - "Economics is for donkeys" ...
So the oil reserve fund was spent on cash handouts to the grateful poor, and the central bank, normally a bastion of prudence, was instructed to cut interest rates for small businesses.

These had the effect, as Ahmadinejad was warned, of pushing up inflation. The rationale for high interest rates was to encourage the middle classes to keep their money in Iran. Now they decided to spend it. Richer Iranians, worried about rising international tension, decided it would be prudent to ship their money abroad. This further weakened the rial, and added to inflationary pressure. In the past few months the prices of most basic goods have risen, hurting the poor he was elected to help. Moreover, far from investing Iran's oil wealth in infrastructure to create jobs, he announced recently that Iran's economy could support a substantially larger population, as if current unemployment was not a big enough problem.
Så hvad skal den "stakkels" præsident gøre? Heldigvis kommer hans venner i Tel Aviv og det Hvide Hus ham fluks til undsætning med deres tåbelige sabelraslen:
Ironically, it is this very international crisis that may serve to save Ahmadinejad's presidency, a reality that the president undoubtedly understood all too well. As domestic difficulties mount, the emerging international crisis could at best serve as a rallying point, or at worst persuade Iran's elite that a change of guard would convey weakness to the outside world.

There can be little doubt that US hawks will interpret recent events as proof that pressure works, and that any more pressure will encourage the hawks further. Yet the reality is that while Ahmadinejad has been his own worst enemy, the US hawks are his best friends.
Link til Ansaris artikel Only the US hawks can save the Iranian president now.