Accepted businessmen and rent-seeking importers in Iran’s famous Chamber of Commerce, in which most of its members are people loyal to the regime, invited the regime’s most questioned presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi to ensure their business and gain more benefits from this candidate backed by the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei if he becomes the president.

And Raisi who now imagines himself in the presidential office in Pasteur Street accepted this invitation like the past presidents and made promises that, of course, did not please anyone, but created more uncertainty about the country’s economic future.

The state-run Eghtesad-e-Irani website on February 26, 2014 about the fruitless visits of the past presidents wrote:

“Hassan Rouhani went to the Iranian Chamber of Commerce to be the second president to appear in the parliament of the private sector in the history of the Islamic Republic. There are just more talks of government’s support of the private sector. Khatami attended in the private sector parliament in the last year of his presidency. Of course, Rafsanjani, the head of the fifth and sixth governments, and Ahmadinejad, during his eight years in the ninth and tenth governments, did not attend the Chamber of Commerce even once, and although members of the board visited them, but these visits ended without any result.”

Confession to brokerage in the Chamber of Commerce

Iran’s government due to its corrupted, looting and rent-seeking economic relationships, is not allowing the formation of any healthy economic relationships, so that organizations like the Chamber of Commerce are infected with brokerage and corruption, as one of its members once emphasized the importance to cleanup this corrupted atmosphere in the organization and said:

“In recent years, the private sector has been weakened by government decisions and the lack of real capacity of the chamber. Chambers play a key role in the country’s economy, but now brokers are trying to enter the chamber’s space, and this is not at all suitable for the chamber’s space and the sanctioned conditions of the country, because a broker never acts like a businessman, but only thinks of lobbying and making a profit for himself.” (Eghtesad Online, February 11, 2019)

In this meeting, members of the Chamber provided a long list of the country’s economic crises like the zero percent economic growth of the country, upward inflation rate, catastrophic welfare situation of the society etc., to Raisi and awaited his answer and opinions, but as usual like other officials, especially the supreme leader, he just gave unclear answers.

“There is capacity and resources available for the growth and development of the country. But its missing link is efficient and jihadist management, and good management is the backbone of a strong economy.” (Othagh-e-Bazargani, May 28, 2021)

The Jahan-e-Sanat daily attacked him and wrote: “The literature used by Ibrahim Raisi in the private sector shows that he is unfamiliar with the macroeconomic and political economy literature, or that he did not want to focus on macroeconomic indicators such as the budget deficit as the mother of all economic ruin, the rapid rate of inflation that reduces the purchasing power of the citizens more and more, from the shrinking volume of foreign trade, which reduces Iran’s power in regional political bargaining, and other indicators such as the growth of liquidity and the growth of the monetary base. Of course, a person who has worked in the judiciary all his life is not expected to do more, but unfamiliarity can also be troublesome.” (Jahan-e-Sanat daily, May 27, 2021)

While corruption in this regime is skyrocketing and the economic problems are uncountable Raisi said: “Problems must be identified and solved with the help of the people.”

And some people close to Khamenei’s faction criticized Raisi’s attend in this meeting, like Vahid Ashtari, a former member of the Central Council of the Student Justice Movement, who is close to Khamenei. He said: “Holding the first election rally symbolically expresses the candidate’s priorities of the country. Now, what is the message of choosing the Chamber of Commerce as a trade union institution and meeting the respected importers in one of the most important bottlenecks of rent-seeking and conflict of interest in the country?” (Dideban-e-Iran, May 27, 2021)

Ehsan Soltani, an economic journalist, also wrote in this regard: “Mr. Raisi, who is the head of the judiciary, should examine the participants in the meeting of the Chamber of Commerce in only the following five cases:

  1. Dual citizenship, family residence abroad and property abroad
  2. Bank arrears and debts
  3. Capital outflow from the country
  4. Enjoy rents and concessions
  5. The rate of increase in wealth and its factors

The conclusion of this meeting is simple, which is the continuation of the dark situation of the country and people’s economic situation.