Ahmad Tavakoli

Iranian MP Ahmad Tavakoli has accused Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of blocking the publication of accurate and timely data on the national economy.

Tavakoli, who is also the head of Parliament’s research committee, said the information is being withheld from the Iranian public on Ahmadinejad’s direct orders. He said such actions mislead both officials and citizens, and result in bad decisions.

The conservative MP contends that the President has instructed the Central Bank to refrain from releasing accurate inflation data.

Iran’s Central Bank recently announced it will no longer publish inflation rates and left that task to the Statistics Centre. The Central Bank said it will continue to collect inflation data but will no longer publicize it.

Over the past three years, the Central Bank has also refrained from announcing economic growth rates. This has led some MPs to speculate that the bank may be covering up a decline in Iran’s economic growth rate under the Ahmadinejad administration.

Tavakoli added that in the absence of accurate data from the Central Bank, the president has been making false announcements about the country’s economic performance, such as annual inflation of 3.5 percent and economic growth of 10 percent.

Tavakoli also accused the administration of flooding the market with money to hide the effect of cuts to government subsidies, even though it drives inflation higher.

Parliament has also accused the administration of using Central Bank resources to pay for the family benefits given to households to counter the effects of subsidy cuts. The administration claims its actions are legal.

Tavakoli also criticized the Ministry of Economy’s failure to provide Parliament with a report on the administration’s financial activities since January.