Iran inflation dips below 24 pct

TEHRAN, June 7, 2009 (AFP) – Iran’s inflation rate, one of the biggest economic challenges facing its next president, dipped last month to under 24 percent, the ISNA news agency reported on Sunday.

His claim was dismissed by Karroubi. Inflation fell to 23.6 percent in the Iranian calendar month of Ordibehesht ending May 21 from 24.5 percent the previous month, the report quoted the central bank as saying.

Inflation in the energy-rich OPEC member state had peaked at 29 percent in September.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is seeking a second four-year term in an election on Friday, has come under fire from economists and his three challengers for implementing inflation-stoking policies.

Economists accused him of directly fuelling price rises by ploughing huge amounts of cash into the economy to fund local infrastructure projects and by offering low-interest loans.

Ahmadinejad, however, said in a televised debate with reformist presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi on Saturday that inflation was actually less than 15 percent.