TEHRAN (AFP) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejed has ordered the sacking of local officials who are deemed to be “indifferent” to the problems of people, the press reported on Tuesday.
Ahmadinejad has made provincial issues a central plank of his presidency, visiting all of Iran’s 30 provinces and giving speeches promising drastic improvements in local infrastructure.
“We will soon send a secret letter to provincial governors with the names of officials who should be encouraged,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by the hardline Kayhan newspaper.
“But also there will be the names of officials who are indifferent. As soon as the governors receive this letter they must sack these officials,” said Ahmadinejad.
He added that other officials would be rebuked for showing “weakness” in their work.
Many economists in Iran have accused Ahmadinejad of stoking its inflation problems by ploughing windfall revenues from high oil prices into local infrastructure projects.
But the government insists that it is merely fulfilling Ahmadinejad’s election promises of making people feel the benefits of oil wealth and has inflation under control.
The revelation of the order comes after Ahmadinejad’s advisors said on Monday that the president would soon embark on another round of provincial trips to chase up on the fulfillment of the promised projects.
Ahmadinejad was also quoted as saying Tuesday that Iran would move against elements who claimed that people in the Islamic republic were suffering economic problems.
“The United States thinks that it can oblige Iran to yield with various unilateral sanctions and using certain internal elements who affirm that people have economic problems,” the state run agency IRNA quoted him as saying.
“But we have identified these economic hecklers and we will soon get rid of them completely.”
Since coming to power in August 2005, Ahmadinejad has sacked numerous officials in ministries who were seen as being close to his moderate rivals, ex-presidents Mohammad Khatami and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.