Iran’s ultraconservatives are seeking to bring down Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, given their constant feeling of vulnerability and threat due to the government's economic failures.
The economic failure of President Ebrahim Raisi’s government has become clear to most Iranians, including the ultraconservatives or hardliners who fully backed him a year ago when he took office.
Mokhber is Raisi’s economic czar who can be easily blamed for a 54% inflation rate and exacerbating poverty along with their political implications.
The reformist daily Arman Meli published a report on Saturday noting that a demand to dismiss Mokhber is a message finally addressed by the conservative camp to Raisi.
According to the daily, this group of Iranian conservatives are determined to prove that Raisi’s administration is inefficient.
The paper wrote that some Iranian conservatives wanted a hardliner politician as vice President last year, but Raisi chose to work with Mokhber, who was a key official in the business conglomerates operating under the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.
One year after his appointment as vice president, it is still not quite clear whether it was Raisi who asked Mokhber to join his cabinet or Khamenei, who was aware that Raisi did not have any executive experience and wanted Mokhber to make up for the president’s shortcomings.
The report mentioned that some hardliners, such as Javad Karimi Qoddousi, said he wished to tell Raisi that Mokhber lacks the capabilities required to assume this post and that remaining in this position will incur the government more losses.
They also mentioned the discord between Mokhber and the other members of Raisi’s economic team, particularly Vice President for Economic Affairs Mohsen Rezaei, as another reason for his dismissal.
Iran International news website said a big gaffe by Mokber last week led to a lot of public ridicule.
A lookalike of American actor Johnny Depp showed up at a religious mourning ceremony, so Mokhber tweeted praising Depp for taking part in a Shiite religious event.
When social media users and politicians reminded him that the person was only a lookalike of the US actor, Mokhber's office claimed that his tweet was somehow fabricated.
All these could be more meaningful with a report by the reformist Shargh newspaper that went viral on Saturday.
The report by its Editor-in-Chief Ahmad Gholami said that “Raisi’s administration is a continuation of the government of populist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and that it will inevitably sink in the same quagmire that Ahmadinejad's administration faced.”
Gholami argued that both Ahmadinejad and Raisi started their terms of office by promising they would change everything, but Ahmadinejad gradually failed as economic conditions worsened in the early 2010s with UN sanctions.
He expected Raisi’s administration to suffer the same fate.
However, to be fair and on the safe side, Gholami observed that Raisi is shouldering a heavier burden of all sorts of economic problems that have accumulated during his predecessors’ ruling periods, noting that it is highly unlikely that he could find a way out as all roads ahead inevitably lead to the same quagmire.
According to Iran International, the economic crisis did not start with Raisi.
Iran’s situation quickly deteriorated when the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed crippling sanctions on the regime.
The website stressed that the same thing happened when the United Nations imposed sanctions on Iran for pursuing a dangerous nuclear program.
However, Raisi’s government is being blamed for a high degree of inefficiency, lack of planning and highly questionable appointments.