Khatami lacks economic agenda: paper
TEHRAN, Aug 2 (AFP) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's democratic
reforms have failed to address the nation's economy, which is enthrall
to corrupt middlemen waging "economic terrorism," a newspaper
The English-language Iran Daily said Khatami's reform agenda has taken
no steps against the politically powerful bazaaris, Iran 's traditional
middlemen whose control of the bazaars directs much of the nation's economy.
"In the system of trading, production and services, there exists
an army of middlemen and mafia-like enterprises ... Their economic terrorism
goes unattended," the paper said.
"Consumer rights are unknown while those in the wholesale and retail
trade make a mockery of universal business practices," it said.
"The Khatami administration has overcome some major hurdles on
the road to m
eaningful political reform. But it is equally true that it lacks an
economic agenda," it said. "Given the prohibitive rise in living
costs, education and health care, life has become a constant and precarious
struggle. Many working-class families can hardly recall the last time they
bought new clothes," it said.
Iran 's stumbling economy has been hard hit by the recent fall in worldwide
oil prices, a drought that has destroyed much of the nation's crops and
surging inflation that sent the value of the Iranian rial tumbling.
Since Khatami's election in 1997 he has tried to carry out an ambitious
programme of social and political reform, including the easing of restrictions
on the press.