Monday, August 27, 2007

Governor of Iran’s Central Bank Resigns

Published: August 27, 2007

TEHRAN, Aug. 26 — The head of the Central Bank of Iran resigned Sunday, bringing the number of key economic figures who have left President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's cabinet to three this month.

A government spokesman, Gholamhossein Elham, announced the resignation of the bank's governor, Ebrahim Sheibani, after weeks of rumors that he had resigned over his differences with Mr. Ahmadinejad.

Mr. Elham said a former economy minister, Tahmaseb Mazaheri, would succeed Mr. Sheibani, the Iranian Students News Agency reported.

The resignation came after the departures this month of the minister of oil, Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh, and the minister of industry, Alireza Tahmasebi.

Mr. Sheibani had reportedly opposed Mr. Ahmadinejad's unexpected intervention to lower interest rates to 12 percent from 15 and 17 percent.

Economists were shocked after the president dissolved the Money and Credit Council, a monetary policy-making body, this month.

Mr. Ahmadinejad was elected in 2005 on a mandate to distribute the country's oil wealth among its poor. Economists had warned that his policy of importing goods to lower prices, and of distributing the oil windfall instead of investing in development projects, would increase inflation.

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