December 29, 2014 | Quoted by Pamela Engel and Michael B Kelley - Business Insider
Rouhani’s Façade Is Crumbling
Emanuele Ottolenghi and Saeed Ghasseminejad, both fellows at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, write in the Wall Street Journal that while Rouhani did soften sanctions on Iran and help lead the country on a path out of recession, his 2015 budget is great for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), intelligence branches, and clerical courts that serve the repressive regime of Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei.
There's some increased healthcare spending built into the budget to help appease middle- and lower-class Iranians, but the budget also includes an increase in government tax revenue and defense spending and a substantial reduction in bread subsidies.
“Rouhanomics,” therefore, “isn’t a recipe for economic growth but for balancing middle-class discontent,” according to the op-ed.
Ottolenghy and Ghasseminejad write:
Not only is Rouhanomics going to inflict economic pain on the very constituency that swept the new president to power, but it will also empower the regime apparatus tasked with taming the inevitable discontent of Mr. Rouhani’s constituents. …
The bottom line is that Mr. Rouhani’s budget appears aimed at streamlining public spending without cutting off welfare completely, but at the same time strengthening the institutions tasked with internal repression and external adventurism.
This increase in defense spending comes at a time when oil revenues — which are estimated to account for about a third of the public budget — are dropping significantly.
Now that Rouhani's own budget reflects the power of the IRGC, Ottolenghi and Ghasseminejad note that the people “in the West, and inside the country, who had entertained illusions of reform will be disappointed.”