Abbas Akhoundi, Iran’s former Minister of Roads and Urban Development, in an interview with the state-run news site Khabar Online on March 25 said about the regime’s upcoming presidential election: “Believe me, problems like inflation will not be solved with guns and arrests.”

He introduced the regime’s radical faction as militias and about the people’s participation in the election said, “When 48 percent is the turnout for the parliamentary elections and less than 16 percent for the Tehran elections, doesn’t that show that the society has collapsed?”

He added: “Those who wanted to solve the security problem of the country behaved in such a way that the government in terms of benefiting was overthrown. The government should have held early elections when it failed to meet its obligations.

“When we have five governments, no government will be formed. There are several governments ruling over it (the government) and we are not a country with one government.

“If you have based your authority on weapons, it is clear that your logic is exhausted. From 2005 onwards, they said we are very powerful because we have weapons. As soon as you said that I am powerful and have a weapon, it meant that your logic is exhausted, and you no longer have logic.”

Pointing to the internal disputes of the government, he said: “If it is based on the fact that ‘I am right and whoever is not with me is unjust,’ it will be the society we are in now. The situation has reached a point where the government cannot even submit a bill to parliament; It gives the budget bill, but they write another budget, it gives the conflict-of-interest bill, but they write another plan, it gives the election bill, they write another plan.

“In the budget debate, they make rules that are mind-boggling. It imposes a tax on all Internet and telephone line users in favor of a privatized company, which is strange. The issue of conflict-of-interest has reached the legislative level, that is, if previously there was a conflict of interest between two people, now it has reached the legislative level, that is, they are actually looking for an institution that provides their interests. That is not how to govern the country.

“What is the current state of inflation? Inflation is terrible. In this terrible inflation, once you want to discuss the root of inflation. On the one hand, GDP is declining and on the other hand, you cannot trade. When you cannot trade, inflation goes up, and it is very simple.

“If you want to solve the trade problem, you must solve the banking problem, and if you want to solve the banking problem, you have to solve the FATF problem. If you want to solve the trade problem, you must be able to solve your problems with neighboring countries and you cannot solve it without foreign policy relations.”

Abbas Akhoundi said about the crisis of inflation and high prices in Iran: “From 1969 until now, they want to skin alive anyone who sells at high prices, now it for 50 years, that is, since the time of the Shah, they want to arrest anyone who wants to sell at high prices. You should compare the method that the system has in dealing with inflation with that of the Shah. It is exactly the same. The Shah was looking for firm power, and they are looking for firm power too.

“This problem cannot be solved by arresting people. The more you arrest, the more you are making it worse. For 50 years now, we have not been able to solve a very simple issue in Iran that when the general level of prices rises, you have to find its root, and its root is in increasing the monetary base or increasing government debt or barriers to trade. Believe me, the problem will not be solved with weapons.

“Recently, they are saying that the Basij can go and do something. If, in the end, you point a gun at someone’s head, while your liquidity has reached one trillion tomans, would then the problem of inflation be solved? If that was the solution, the problem would have been solved in the past 50 years.”