Iran economists slam president in open letter
Ahmadinejad’s confrontational attitude costing Iran dearly
Iran's confrontational attitude toward the rest of the world is costing the country dearly in lost trade and investment, according to a letter signed by 60 economists published on Saturday.
The open letter, the latest addressed to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and published by the semi-official Ilna news agency, denounced the "heavy price paid by the country over the negative consequences of government policy."
In particular, it spoke of the "misguided trade policy and the policy of tension with the rest of the world, which has deprived Iran of opportunities for trade and foreign investment."
It said the sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council over Iran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment had added billions of dollars in extra costs to the country's foreign trade.
The letter, signed by economists from major universities around the country, criticizes what it calls "extremist idealism," an "undue haste in acting" and the "absence of cost assessment on economic programs."
Ahmadinejad swept to power in 2005 on a populist campaign of ploughing huge amounts of cash into local infrastructure and granting low-interest business loans to create jobs.
He has come under fire over those policies, and that has resulted in several key economic figures being sacked, including the central bank head and economy minister.
Economists have lamented a focus on encouraging consumption that has seen imports surge, rather than investing in domestic industry and saving for the future.