Money printing Iran blames critics for 19.1-pct inflation; money supply growth 40-pct

TEHRAN, Dec 16, 2007 (AFP) – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday blamed his political rivals and the global economy for stoking inflation in Iran, amid increasing domestic criticism of his economic policies. Prominent moderates such as reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami have publicly lambasted Ahmadinejad for his handling of the economy in recent weeks.

In a prime-time interview with state television, Ahmadinejad defended the government’s economic record against accusations that his expansionary policies were directly responsible for the surge in prices in recent months.

Ahmadinejad denounced his critics for “carrying out an organised psychological war against the government, which makes the prices rise.”

He complained that rival political factions were “constantly sniping” against the government’s economic policy, fuelling expectations of future inflation.

It was the conservative president’s latest assault against his reformist and moderate political opponents, whom he had previously accused of being traitors for pressuring the government in the nuclear crisis with the West.

Inflation — which reached 19.1 percent in the month to end-November — has become a major political issu