Ahmadinejad Supporters Criticize Student Basij Seminar
Influential criticisms by Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mohsen Rezaei, Danesh-Jafari and Pour-Mohammadi of the Ahmadinejad administration’s economic policies during the seminar, “Privatization: Obstacles and Opportunities,” which was held by the Student Basij organization, has enraged the administration’s supporters.
Hashemi Rafsanjani said during the seminar, “The Supreme Leader requested from the Expediency Council in a clear letter to devise policies and strategies in connection with implementation of Article 44 of the Constitution [privatization]. In 2004, when we finished our work, the Supreme Leader approved very quickly… We said give us five years and the government will transfer 20 percent of factories and facilities under its ownership to the private sector every year, the Supreme Leader approved and signed… Another policy the Supreme Leader was more concerned about than us was the issue of dependency on oil. At that time he said that my dream is to celebrate the closure of the last oil well, so we devised a 10-year plan according to which every year the government reduces its dependence on oil by 10 percent.”
Hashemi Rafsanjani then added, “Five years have passed since that date. The big question that lingers is, how much has this been implemented? Our oil revenues that have been unprecedented in history, how have they been spent? Have we spent them on development? These questions are not related at all to political competitions. Here, we are talking about implementation of Supreme Leader’s policies and these questions must be answered clearly.”
In another part of his speech, noting the ninth administration’s slow pace of privatization and unaccounted for expenditure, Hashemi Rafsanjani asked of the Basijis, “You must ask what has happened to revenue generated from privatizing factories and government facilities? We hope that everything was conducted in accordance with law.”
Rafsanjani also asked the Basijis to pay more attention to issues related to Article 44: “The source of these policies is your Supreme Leader and you must feel the duty to implement them more than ever. Allah willing, you will not be accused of politicking and creating obstacles. Your stances are clear and you will not be accused of opposing the Supreme Leader’s orders.
During the seminar, when one member of the Student Basij accused the gathering o being political and asked Hashemi why no representative from the ninth administration was invited to the gathering to respond to the charges, Hashemi cleverly responded, “Really you should ask this of the administration, I cannot respond to this on their behalf. Head of all three branches must be held responsible when it comes to Article 44.”
Reacting to Hashemi Rafsanjani’s speech at the Student Basij seminar, Raja News website, affiliated with the administration, wrote, “The aforementioned seminar contains discussions and remarks that are devised and voiced only to oppose the Ahmadinejad administration, so much so that the suspicion was that this gathering was organized by reformist groups, but the reality is otherwise.”
Noting that “the gathering lacked responsible and measured leadership by the Basij,” Raja News concluded, “holding such gatherings with guest whose only motivation seems to be to blast and question the administration and its policies achieves nothing other than to destabilize the environment and question the performance and service of the present administration.”