Tehran plans to build more nuclear power plants; Iran’s Supreme leader supports Ahmadinejad, despite mounting domestic criticism over his policies
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • The deputy head of the Iranian Atomic Organization, Ahmad Fayazbakhsh announced that Iran would build six more nuclear power plants within the next 13 years. Fayazbakhsh noted that the contracts were already signed with six local companies to find suitable locations for the new plants. The country’s only nuclear plant was still under construction at the southern Persian Gulf port of Bushehr. The first unit of the plant, being built with Russian cooperation, would be ready by the end of the year.1

    Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme religious leader, responded to mounting domestic criticism of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a strong statement of support, praising his internal policies and his defense of the country’s nuclear program. Khamenei asserted that Ahmadinejad's government had helped revive the values of the 1979 Islamic revolution and that he stood up to “some bullying countries” which “wanted to impose their will on Iran.” He had earlier publicly backed Mr. Ahmadinejad on several occasions, but reports noted that his recent statement of support for the government was exceptional as they were categorical in noting that he and the president were in ideological accord.2

    Mr. Ahmadinejad’s policies in recent times came under increasing criticism due to rising food and fuel prices, unemployment and inflation, compounded by three rounds of UN sanctions. He also came under fire from his political allies for resisting calls to dismiss Iran’s Vice-president for Tourism, Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, for stating that the Israeli people were friends of Iran, even though their government was an enemy.

    Former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani had also criticized Ahmadinejad in recent past, blaming him for mismanagement of the economy that led to shortages of heating gas and electricity. Mr. Rafsanjani was quoted as saying that even though the Supreme eader had asked the people to tolerate Mr. Ahmadinejad for some time, his time was up.3