A pair of extraordinary admissions on Tuesday....
Speaking with clerics, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani said 20% of the country’s economic problems are due to sanctions. He assured his audience that Parliament's committees would "take action to solve the problem of expensive bread and milk" --- "formulation and adoption of this plan could reduce the country's problems". And, just as important, he explained that the other 80% of problems lay in the implementation of the Government's subsidy cuts, other faulty measures, and lack of cooperation with industry.
Why the intervention? A careful reader might note the growing concern of the clerics over the economic situation. On Sunday, Minister of Industry Mehdi Ghazanfari met a group in Qom to admit the challenges of the economy and sanctions, while putting the Government's case that it would deal with those issues.
But the Government may be facing far more than the political move of Larijani. Fars, linked to the Revolutionary Guards, could not have been clearer about its discontent in a Tuesday article. The site contended that some Iranians could not afford essential food such as bread & cheese because of inflation and sanctions. It called on MPs to halt the price rises and warned, if this did not happen, of unrest in the Bazaar and the fear and disappointment of people.
An EA correspondent gets to the heart of the matter, "This is the first sign that the Revolutionary Guards fear bread and butter revolts --- these will be much different from peaceful Green Movement rallies."
In the last week, the Government has tried to stem the criticism by shutting down critical websites, such as Alef, linked to leading MP Ahmad Tavakoli. It has tried to blame everything from inflation to drought to duststorms on the "enemy".
But, if figures such as Ali Larijani and factions like the Revolutionary Guards are making admissions and issuing warnings, how long can this response dam the discontent?