Iran economists accuse govt. of money printing, wasting oil wealth

TEHRAN, July 14, 2007 (AFP) – Over 50 Iranian economists bluntly told President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a face-to-face meeting this week his economic policies were “inexpert” and lacked “any basis in science”, the press reported Saturday. The president has always vehemently rejected criticism over his handling of the economy, insisting that inflation is under control and Iran is reaching new levels of technological progress.

At Friday’s meeting, arranged so the president could hear their criticism, the economists launched a withering attack on Ahmadinejad’s government which they said was frittering away the benefits of unprecedented oil wealth.

“In your government, economic policies are adopted without any basis in science or the directives of the fourth development plan,” said a statement from the 57 economists read out at the the meeting, the Etemad Melli newspaper reported.

They asked for “documented statistics” in official reports that could prove the government’s achievements. Iranian news agencies said Ahmadinejad later told the economy ministry to draw up such a report.

“It would seem that after the Islamic revolution, no government has benefited from such a surge in oil revenues,” the economists told the presiden