(Persia Digest) – An Iranian political analyst believes: “Inconsistencies in describing the impact of sanctions by two senior government officials indicates a serious disagreement in the economic team of the government and their different impressions of international facts which may confuse society.”

On 18 January, the Head of the Plan and Budget Organization, Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said: “Iran is facing a drop in its oil sales as well as difficulties in transferring foreign currencies to the country.” Meanwhile, four days later, First Vice-President, Eshaq Jahangiri, said that Iran would sell as much oil as it needs, transfer money as much as it deems necessary and import enough basic goods and medicines for people at the right price.

What would be the domestic and foreign consequences of the above mentioned contradictory remarks on the impacts of sanctions by two senior officials of the government?

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Responding to the question, Abdollah Nasseri told Persia Digest (PD): “The inconsistency of the remarks made within a short time of one another by two senior members of President Hassan Rouhani’s economic team on the impacts of US sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, money transfer and basic goods supply, indicates that the government has no plan or strategy for addressing society.”

Nasseri added: “From the very beginning of its term in office, the government has failed to establish a meaningful relationship with society. If the government had a professional spokesman, such viewpoints could be conveyed to people in a more coordinated way. Therefore, the existing contradiction between remarks made by the first vice-president and the Head of the Plan and Budget Organization is indicative of a serious disagreement among members of the government’s economic team. I believe none of the two officials want to deceive people, but have completely different impressions of international facts and sanctions.”

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Commenting on the impacts of such contradictory remarks by the Iranian administrative officials on the economy, Nasseri, former managing director of the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), said: “Such statements would confuse public opinion psychologically at all levels of society, including producers, distributors and consumers. While experience has proved that spreading rumors or even publishing reports would affect prices, such remarks can damage Iran’s economic structure.”

“Since the beginning of President Rouhani’s government in 2013, many economic scholars have said that his economic team is not coordinated. The outcome of their comments was that Tayyebnia left the government. However, the previous process still remains and it can be said that the government’s economic team is incompetent. No improvements have been made even by changing the governor of the Central Bank of Iran and the minister of economy and several others, because the main problem lies in the Plan and Budget Organization which has been run for five years by a non-professional person.”

Nasseri concluded by saying: “Foreign receivers of such contradictory messages know better than some of Iranian officials how the sanctions will affect the future of Iran’s economy. Therefore, I believe that Nobakht’s assessment from the existing situation is closer to reality.”

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