05/20/2008, 00.00
IRAN
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Head of central bank criticises Ahmadinejad's economic policy

The president announces a cut in interest rates, but the head of the central bank says that the provision "cannot be applied to the banks", because it violated the rules.

Tehran (AsiaNews) - The decision of the Iranian government to cut interest rates "cannot be applied to the banks".  Even if it is partially justified by procedural questions, it is an unexpected criticism of the economic policy of the Iranian government that has come from the head of the central bank, Tahmasb Mazaheri, who has refused to follow the instructions of the executive branch.

Mazaheri justifies his action by maintaining that interest rates can be reduced only in the perspective of the guidelines proposed by the experts of the central bank, developed and presented in advance to the administration.  It is this principle that Mazaheri explained in a letter to president Ahmadinejad, in which he said that "when this objective has been analysed and completed in such a way that it can be communicated to the banks, we will communicate it, because the current decision, with its defects, is not applicable".

In reporting the affair, Rooz, the online newspaper of the opposition, recalls that the former finance minister, Danesh-Jafari, revealed that already last year all the members of the monetary and credit council voted against a reduction in interest rates, changing their votes under pressure from the president.  Now Ahmadinejad has come back to the issue, and has personally announced the reduction in rates.

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