Khamenei blames Rouhani for economic crisis in Iran

The blame against Rouhani comes at a time when US sanctions have once again hit. (AFP/File)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Khamenei blames Rouhani for economic crisis in Iran

  • Khamenei’s statement was an apparent attempt to deflect public anger over the plunging worth of the rial
  • Thousands of Iranians have protested in recent weeks against sharp rises in the prices of some food items, a lack of jobs and state corruption

LONDON: Iran’s supreme leader on Monday accused President Hassan Rouhani’s government of mismanagement, after a string of angry public protests over the dire state of the economy. 

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s statement was an apparent attempt to deflect public anger over the plunging worth of the rial — the currency has lost about half of its value since April — and wider economic woes due to tough new US sanctions on Tehran.

“More than the sanctions, economic mismanagement is putting pressure on ordinary Iranians ... I do not call it betrayal but a huge mistake in management,” Khamenei said.

The leader’s speech adds to the growing pressure on Iran’s beleaguered government. Aside from the economic concerns, footage of protests indicates a more fundamental dissatisfaction with the regime, with chants of slogans such as “death to the dictator” and demands for an end to Iran’s costly regional interventions in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen while Iranians suffer economic pain.

The Iranian leader also ruled out any talks with the US, following last week’s reimposition of sanctions after President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program.

Thousands of Iranians have protested in recent weeks against sharp rises in the prices of some food items, a lack of jobs and state corruption.

The rial has lost about half of its value since April in anticipation of the renewed US sanctions, driven mainly by heavy demand for dollars among ordinary Iranians trying to protect their savings.

Meanwhile, Iran on Monday unveiled a next generation short-range ballistic missile. State broadcaster IRIB said the new Fateh Mobin missile had “successfully passed its tests” and could strike targets on land and sea. Previous versions of the missile had a range of about 200 to 300 kilometers.

Theodore Karasik, a security analyst and senior adviser to Gulf State Analytics in Washington, said Iran was developing a “robust” defense industry despite the country’s “severe” economic problems.

“The missile is launched from a mobile launcher that provides for denial and deception tactics to hide such launchers from overhead surveillance … much like the Houthi militias are doing in Yemen,” he said.


Qatar accused of building World Cup stadiums on land stolen from persecuted tribe

Updated 27 min 52 sec ago
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Qatar accused of building World Cup stadiums on land stolen from persecuted tribe

  • Al-Ghufran tribe hand a letter of protest to the game’s world governing body, FIFA
  • The tribe claim that land used for World Cup stadiums was taken from them by force

ZURICH: Qatar was accused on Monday of building stadiums for the 2022 football World Cup on land stolen from a tribe it has persecuted for more than 20 years. 

A delegation from the Al-Ghufran tribe handed a letter of protest to the game’s world governing body, FIFA, and demanded that Qatar be stripped of the right to hold the tournament unless the tribe receives justice. 

“The World Cup is a gathering of people who come together for the love of the game, honest competition, brotherhood and love and respect among nations; how will Qatar play the role of supplying this when it is so unfair to its own citizens?” a spokesman for the tribe said. 

“The FIFA system states that the country where the World Cup is held must respect and preserve human rights, but this is a country that harms its own citizens and strips them of their rights, and then talks about freedom and democracy.”

The tribe claim that land used for World Cup stadiums was taken from them by force, and that sports facilities were built illegally and illegitimately after the owners were thrown off the land and stripped of their citizenship.

“The state resorted to every illegitimate method in dealing with the Al-Ghufran tribe, from deprivation to expulsion from the country, withdrawal of their official documents and denial of education and health care,” the spokesman said.

The tribe’s ordeal began in 1996, when some of their members voiced support for Sheikh Khalifa Al-Thani, the Qatari emir deposed the previous year by his son Hamad, father of the current emir, Sheikh Tamim.

About 800 Al-Ghufran families, more than 6,000 people, were stripped of their citizenship and had their property confiscated. Many remain stateless, both in Qatar and in neighboring Gulf countries.

A delegation from the tribe has been in Switzerland for the past week, presenting their case to UN human rights officials in Geneva. 

They have asked the UN to stop Qatari authorities’ continuous and systematic discrimination against them, to protect the tribe’s members and restore their lost rights, and to punish the Qatari regime for human-rights violations.

A delegation from the tribe organized a demonstration on Monday at the Broken Chair, a monumental wooden sculpture opposite the Palace of Nations in Geneva that symbolises opposition to land mines and cluster bombs.

“The international community must stop turning a blind eye to the human rights violations committed against the Al-Ghufran tribe by the Qatari regime,” said Mohamed Saleh Al-Ghafzani, a member of the delegation.

“We are talking to everyone who comes in and out of the United Nations building about our crisis and our stolen rights; after Qatar took our nationality away, there is nothing else we can lose.”