April 12, 2018

Saeed Laylaz, an economist, journalist, and supporter of President Hassan Rouhani believes that the recent crisis in the foreign-exchange market has been artificially created.

Saeed Laylaz

“Boosting the value of the U.S. dollar against the rial is a plot hatched by certain groups within the Islamic Republic whose aim is to either gain more power or settle political scores,” Mr. Laylaz said in an interview with ILNA (the Iranian Labor News Agency).

Laylaz explained: “Some elements within the establishment have manufactured the recent crisis in the foreign currency exchange market to undermine President Rouhani’s government. They used the same tactic between 2005 and 2013.”

“I believe the current crisis is the extension of seditious nationwide civic unrest in December,” he added.

It is worth noting that the leaders of the Islamic Republic and political hardliners condemned the protests against the results of the 2009 presidential elections as “seditious.” In an attempt to attack Mr. Rouhani’s opponents, Laylaz, who is a reformist, has sided with the authorities and Friday prayer leaders in calling the popular protests ‘seditious.’

Laylaz noted: “Washington is tightening the economic noose around our neck. My biggest complaint is that the Islamic Republic is neither serious nor sincere in its efforts to confront the U.S.; otherwise, it could have delivered a decisive blow to Washington. We shouldn’t give an inch under pressure to the U.S. We must not allow Washington to extort any concessions from us. We should meet force with force.” He added: “Our country’s economy is sanction-proof. We should move closer to China and Russia.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Laylaz, said: “We had $20 billion in foreign currency reserves last year, which is a significant amount. But our foreign enemies are trying to disrupt the foreign currency exchange market by manipulating the flow of dollars into the country. We must point out that only 3 to 4 percent of Iran’s foreign currency transactions are in dollars. They have, nevertheless, been able to create an economic crisis. They have received help from inside the country. The government’s indecisiveness has been a major contributing factor in all of this.”    

Insisting that the majority of the public and the reformists did not support civil unrest, Laylaz said: “You cannot find a single reformist inside or outside Iran who supports the December rebellion.”

When asked about the role and influence of opposition groups outside the country, Laylaz replied: “In my view, the opposition has no impact. If by opposition you’re referring to Maryam Rajavi’s group (People’s Mojahedin of Iran), I must tell you that its supporters inside Iran are less than 10,000 people.”

When asked about Reza Pahlavi as a viable opposition force, Laylaz mockingly said: “I’ve always maintained that Reza Pahlavi and all of the people in his organization can, at best, manage the distribution of flour in the country. I’m not even sure about that. He is not capable of achieving big things.”

“We are currently involved in a political and security war,” Laylaz noted. “We must be united in our effort to confront U.S. hegemony. The reformists and the nation are ready and willing to work with the ruling establishment.”

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