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What Ahmadinejad Did Not Say - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad placed the blamed for the global financial crisis completely on the West, accusing it of trying to portray this crisis as a global one. Ahmadinejad went even further and stated that other countries were being used to help solve the problems of the West, adding that western leaders “dispatch different delegations to other countries and hold regional meetings and conferences in order to force other governments to get involved in this crisis to cover a part of their losses.”

Ahmadinejad’s comments illustrate the depth of the Iranian economic crisis as it seems that the Iranian President has yet to grasp the nature of the global economic system. Proof of this is that the Iranian economy was hit even before the price of oil dropped.

It is important here to notice that Ahmadinejad’s statement that Western leaders are dispatching delegations and holding conferences in order to force other governments to cover Western loss is very similar to the comments made by the Syrian Vice President Farouk al Sharaa who said that Arabs were not represented at the G20 conference in Washington.

The insinuation here is that Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are involved in a process of outright political blackmail, even though Riyadh already said “no” before the G20 conference, and said “no” again after the conference as well.

It is more important to look at what the Iranian President did not say rather than what he did say. Ahmadinejad, who says that Iran’s economy will be able to survive even if the price of oil falls to just five dollars per barrel, is calling for the Arab Gulf states to establish a regional bank for financial assistance.

Yes, a regional bank for financial assistance that would comprise of the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC], in addition to Iran, and that would help finance the projects of these countries that require assistance rather than them resorting to the International Monetary Fund and other similar financial organizations.

Before elaborating further, it is important to point out that the Gulf States are arranging for ensuring financial stability and the completion of their own projects etc.

The reader should ask: which of the GCC states are in need of financial assistance from the international community? It is certainly not Saudi Arabia as it has announced repeatedly that it is able to cope with any problems that may arise. The same goes for the United Arab Emirates. Kuwait has the funds to tackle any problems that it might encounter, and undoubtedly, the same applies to Bahrain. We have not yet heard anything from Oman, and there is no need for Qatar to ask for international financial assistance. Therefore, the major beneficiary of Ahmadinejad’s proposed regional bank would be Iran itself.

When the price of oil was US $120 per barrel, Hassan Rowhani, the Security Advisor to Iran’s Supreme Guide Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, harshly criticized President Ahmadinejad. He accused him of “missing a golden opportunity” for the development of Iran. Rowhani, Iran’s former chief nuclear negotiator, asked with the price of oil so high, “Why are the people’s pockets empty and their dignity on sale?”

With oil prices continuing to decline, how can Ahmadinejad now say that his country is able to maintain its economy? At the same time, how can he say that the global financial crisis only affects the West, and that the West wants our money to solve it?

Above everything, Ahmadinejad wants a regional bank so that Iran can benefit from the finance of the Arab Gulf, the same Arab Gulf that is continually under threat of incineration from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in its response to Israeli threats. There are contradictions, but they demonstrate that Tehran’s financial crisis is severe, despite what Ahmadinejad says.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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