Tehran's Friday Prayer Imam and member of the influential Assembly of Experts (A.E.), Ahmad Khatami, has stepped in to defend the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader's economic record.
Khatami known as a hardliner and a close ally of Ali Khamenei insisted that the Supreme Leader has no responsibility in Iran's economic affairs, adding that the executive branch of power manages the country's economy.
Khatami, 60, was responding to a letter by a politically influential cleric, Mohammad Mousavi Khoeiniha, where he had harshly criticized Khamenei for the deteriorating economic situation in Iran.
However, the three branches of power in Iran, as well as many national economic entities and others impacting the economy are directly supervised by the Supreme Leader and comply with his wishes and decisions.
In an open letter on June 27, Secretary-General of the Assembly of Militant Clerics (AMC), Mousavi Khoeiniha, had referred to the economic hardships people face asserting that the "unsustainable situation" was the outcome of the "country's management at the highest level."
Dismissing the letter, Ahmad Khatami has stressed that Khamenei "has no legal responsibility in the economic sector," adding, however, that "under Khamenei's leadership, Iran is ranked as the 17th largest economy in the world.
The hardliner cleric stopped short of presenting the source of his claim, but a report by the Economist shows that Iran's economy has been in a "very bad state" in the last two years and is on the list of the five countries with the worst economic performance in the world in 2020.
Mousavi Khoeiniha's letter had previously been met with reactions from some other political figures from both the so-called reformist and fundamentalist camps.
An outspoken fundamentalist and editor-in-chief of daily Kayhan, Hossein Shariatmadari, noted that the rising inflation and the declining incomes of a large part of Iranians were the results of the government's management.
Directly appointed by Khamenei, the notorious editor claimed, "The Supreme Leader has taken enemies down a peg in the past three decades, and protected people's lives, assets, and honor."
Some critics of Mousavi Khoeiniya have also objected to him saying that before writing any critical letter, he "should first explain his tenure, and especially the role he and his associates played in storming the U.S. embassy in Tehran and taking 52 American diplomats hostage on November 04, 1979."
Seventy-nine-year-old Khoeiniha, a former Prosecutor General, and an ex-member parliament and the Assembly of Experts is known for masterminding the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979.