The Iranian finance minister said on Tuesday that the global
economic crisis was the result of inadequate regulation in
Shamseddin Hosseini told a plenary session at the annual
meetings of IMF and World Bank in Istanbul that the bodies had
proved incapable of predicting the crisis.
While constantly monitoring developing
countries, the IMF and bank had failed to give due
consideration to the growth of paper assets and
derivatives in the developed world, the finance minister
Hosseini used a subsequent a press briefing to reiterate
Irans argument against the dollars primacy in
He said Iran had been involved for some time in
discussions over shifting the denomination of oil sales away
from the dollar. Hosseini was speaking just hours after
Muhammad Al Jasser, the Saudi Central Bank Governor, dismissed
a report in a London newspaper of secret meetings of oil
producers and buyers to abandon the dollar as the accepted
currency for pricing oil sales.
Hosseini also told journalists that allegations made by US
Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, on Sunday to the IMF
Financial Committee over Iranian banks money laundering
were false. Hosseini said Iran had clear laws
against laundering and that, more importantly, it was
haram (forbidden) in Islam.
Iran has used the annual meetings to call for reform of IMF
and World Bank structures to give greater representation to
Hosseini told the plenary session there should be a transfer
of close to 6% of voting powers to developing
and transition countries. Such a move has also been
supported by the G24 group of emerging nations, of which Iran
is a member.
In his press briefing, Hosseini defended Iranian government
policy, which he said had helped the country weather the worst
effects of the global crisis. He said that while $20,000
billion of market value had been lost worldwide,
the Tehran stock exchange had risen by 40%.
Hosseini said the government would very soon
publish its official estimate of growth for 2008/9. The IMF has
projected growth of 1.5% in 2009, after 2.5% in 2008, 7.8% in
2007 and an average of 5.4% from 1996 to 2006.
Hosseini acknowledged there had been some effect on
Irans economy from falls in oil prices.
He said the government was committed to its privatization
programme, under which 80% of state-owned companies will be
sold. He dismissed the governments critics, who say the
scheme is merely moving ownership between state-owned and
The recent sale of a 50%+1 stake in Telecommunications
Company of Iran (TCI), he said, had raised around $8
billion. The buyers, he added, were 12 companies acting
as a consortium.
None is controlled by Sepah, he added in
response to a question about Iranian media reports that at
least two buyers were affiliated to the Islamic Revolutionary
Guard corps (IRGC). Sepah is the colloquially used name of this
military body that has expanded its economic role in recent
But Hosseini conceded that part of the shares of
some of the companies were held by IRGC