TEHRAN (Iran News) – ‘They will unite Arabs against us!’. Iranian presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei, a former chief of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), says he predicted that Iran’s enemies would rally Arab countries against the Islamic Republic and lay an economic siege on the country as early as January 1982.
Rezaei attempted to boast about his political — and military — foreknowledge while speaking about the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) in a campaign meeting at Iran’s Chamber of Commerce in Tehran on Tuesday (June 1).
“Historical documents dating back to January 1982, when we were gearing up for Operation Fath ol-Mobin, show that I said at the time that ‘we will win the war [with Iraq] but have no doubt that, after the war, they will lay economic siege on us and unite Arabs against us,’” he told the group of Iranian businessmen.
Rezaei, who has been a frequent presidential candidate, also referred to a prediction he made while campaigning in 2013 about a fall in the value of the Iranian national currency, the rial.
In his 2021 presidential campaign, Rezaei has been giving special attention to the economy and the national currency. On Saturday (May 29), he promised to increase cash handouts to the Iranian people from the current monthly 455,000 Iranian rials (1.9 US dollars) to 4,500,000 — an increase of ten times. A day later, he said he would work to make the Iranian rial the strongest currency in the region after the US dollar and the euro.
Iran is holding its 13th presidential election on June 18. Rezaei is running against six other candidates. All of them have been focusing on the economy, battered by sanctions and mismanagement in recent years. Some have been attacking the economic policies of the President Hassan Rouhani administration. The governor of Iran’s Central Bank, appointed to that post by Rouhani in 2018, is also running.
‘The cake is shrinking’
In his Tuesday remarks, Rezaei, who holds a Ph.D. in economics, said the last decade had been one of “missed opportunities.”
“Over this decade, [Iran’s] average economic growth rate went down to zero; the average inflation rate was 24%, it was the worst over the last three years; gross fixed capital grew at an average -5%; and, for the first time in the past 50 years, depreciation of investment property grew at a faster rate than the rate of investment,” he said.
“Statistics show that the economic cake is shrinking,” he added.
Iran struck a deal with six world powers in 2015, in what was hailed by the Rouhani administration as the trigger of an economic boom as a result of the lifting of draconian US sanctions promised under the deal. But the United States unilaterally abandoned the agreement in 2018 and started imposing sanctions on Iran and its partners again, effectively blocking Iran’s access to any dividends from the accord.
‘We shall not allow past administrations to repeat themselves!’
Rezaei then pleaded with the audience not to allow past mistakes to repeat.
“Firstly, we have to stop the mistakes. We shall not allow past administrations to repeat themselves. I ask you to please not allow past administrations to repeat themselves; [otherwise] we will risk reaching the point of no return, which would be below the dignity of the Iranian people,” he said.
Rezaei said everyone was responsible for the stringent economic state of the country, but the administration had to act first.
“For it is the administration and the statesmen who, in spite of having no knowledge of economics, incur damage on the economy,” he added.
Rezaei is a Principlist.