Wikileaks-Iran Document: Problems with the Opposition and the Economy…in April 2009
November 29, 2010 Hinterlasse einen Kommentar
Less than two months before the June 2009 Presidential election, the US Embassy in Dubai — which serves as a „window“ on Iran, given that the Americans have no diplomatic representation in Tehran — sent this assessment to Washington. It is Secret and „NOFORN“ (not for foreign eyes):
Wednesday, 22 April 2009, 11:00
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EO 12958 DECL: 4/22/2019
TAGS PREL, PGOV, PHUM, PINR, ECON, ETRD, KDEM, IR
SUBJECT: IRAN REGIONAL PRESENCE OFFICE–WINDOW ON IRAN–APRIL 22,
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Game of Attrition. Ahmadinejad’s defeats on the budget and his plan to distribute cash payments to lower-income Iranians show that power centers, such as the Majles, are actively working to pressure the President prior to the June election, according to [Source removed]. These power centers are also stepping up their lobbying of Supreme Leader Khamenei to get his backing to stall or overturn some Presidential authorities.
This game is increasingly being played out in the media, where the sides openly attack each other, and where the President’s public defenses are weakening his hand and depleting political capital that he would prefer to save for the bigger fights ahead.
The cash payment plan could have garnered AN additional votes, but he continues to „work the rounds“ in the provinces and maintain his base of support where it really matters. By June, the current policy debates will matter less, and it is too early to consider these moves decisive to AN’s electoral prospects, according to the economist. Comment: If these power centers can get increased backing from Khamenei, we may see some interesting fireworks in Iranian press in the coming weeks. As IRPO has previously reported, identifying the power centers responsible for AN‘ setbacks on economic policy last month is difficult but could include a broad spectrum of political factions.
2. (S/NF) [Name removed] said the MOIS [Ministry of Intelligence and Security] will sometimes help assemble charges against defendants, direct cases to particular judges, and order judges to rule a particular way. Structurally, he said the Revolutionary Courts are similar to other courts, fall under the Judiciary’s authority, and are theoretically supposed to follow the same law. Defendants are allowed to have lawyers during their trials, can defend themselves, and can appeal decisions. Asked about Roxanna Saberi, [Name removed] said he was aware of her case, but had no specific information on it. Comment: The Revolutionary Courts‘ lack of transparency and seemingly baseless decision making make [Name removed] allegations plausible and perhaps probable. [Name removed] work in the judiciary branch as a public prosecutor [Location removed] also gives his assertions some credibility, but he did not work in the Revolutionary Courts. His accusations are more likely to reflect the legal community’s assumptions rather than first-hand knowledge of MOIS influence. [Name removed] was also notable for the depth of his anti-regime sentiment, which probably colors his impressions of the Revolutionary Courts.
3. (S/NF) Mousavi’s Economic Program. Moderate presidential candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi announced his economic program to the Iranian press this week, emphasizing economic growth and job creation from a rejuvenated and expanded private sector. Mousavi criticized AN’s halting steps at privatization, calling them „the institutionalization of non-productive government management.“ Stability in government policies and a strict adherence to the planning documents of a restored Management and Planning Organization (MPO) and the „rule of law,“ are other key planks. The best talking point in the plan, „social justice doesn’t mean equal distribution of poverty,“ challenges AN’s key economic goal by inserting economic growth into the equation and highlighting his poor economic management. Mousavi’s plan only briefly mentions subsidy reforms, stressing the need to implement them gradually, after careful preparation. Comment: Mousavi’s plan mentions Article 44 of Iran’s constitution, which defines the role of the state, cooperative, and private sectors in Iran’s economy, but his emphasis on a strong private sector may open the plan to criticism that it is in conflict with the constitution. Mousavi also threatens to withdraw Iran’s Fifth Five Year Development Plan, currently being drafted, if AN submits it to the Majles before the election. An IRPO contact [Source removed], didn’t expect the plan to be finished until later this year.
4. (S/NF)[Name removed] said Iran’s Ministry of Commerce has approved the creation of an Iran-Americas Chamber of Commerce in anticipation of improved US-Iran ties. Although the chamber’s primary focus is the US, due to political sensitivities, it will not be called an Iran-US chamber. [Name removed] made the following points:
— Khamenei instructed Ahmadinejad to base the Fifth Five Year Development Plan on a draft from the Expediency Council. Hosseini alleged that both the Expediency Council and the president submitted drafts of the plan to Khamenei and Khamenei favored the Expediency Council’s version.
— The current year will be positive for Iranian businesses. Hosseini, admittedly in contrast with many of his colleagues, is optimistic because the election allows Iran the opportunity to remove Ahmadinejad and because he believes economic ties with the US will be a positive shock to the Iranian economy.
— Khamenei moderated his support for Ahmadinejad following Khatami’s decision to exit the contest. Hosseini predicts Mir Hossein Mousavi will win the election.
— The TCC meetings are more productive than the ICCIM meetings. The TCC has a monthly meeting with government representatives, including ministers; the TCC members prepare for the meetings and, typically, complain a great deal during the meetings about government policy. Although the government is not always responsive to their complaints, following a recent meeting, the oil minister appointed a committee to resolve the TCC’s concerns. Participants in ICCIM meetings, which include representatives from the provincial chambers, are typically unprepared.
–Iranians seeking an export license must be a member of a chamber of commerce and both the Ministry of Commerce and a chamber must approve the export license.
Comment: [Name removed] seems well placed to comment on economic and political developments in Iran. However, his assertion that the Expediency Council submitted a draft of the next Five Year Development plan is unusual because normally the president’s office drafts the plan and submits it to the Majles. The early involvement of the Expediency Council may reflect Rafsanjani’s concern over Ahmadinejad’s economic policies. Khamenei in a letter to Ahmadinejad in January outlined the general policies to be included in the plan; it is possible the letter is based on a plan from the Expediency Council.
5. (S/NF) IRIG [Iran Government] Suspicion Extends to Its Own Official Delegations: [Source removed] hinted to IRPO local staff that official Iranian delegations can be scrutinized as much as exchange groups headed to the US. [Name removed] implied that IRIG officials had carefully vetted members of the IMF delegation. Separately, he told conoff, sotto voce, that the IRIG had only decided to allow some delegation members to travel two weeks ago, although their visa applications had been ready much earlier, and that was why they were late in applying. Comment: The delay in submitting the
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Visa applications may have been simple bureaucratic inefficiency, although [Name removed] indicated he strongly believed that security agencies were scrutinizing members of the delegation before permitting them to travel