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Sun 15 Jul 2007 12:46 PM

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Iranian govt to respond to economists' attacks

Ahmadinejad is set to reply in writing to harsh criticisms of his economic policies from Iranian economists.

The Iranian government has said it will respond to critical comments from the country's leading economists regarding President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's economic policies.

According to an AP report yesterday the government is set to formally reply to the criticisms in writing, Iran's state-run television said on Saturday.

In a meeting last week a panel of 57 Iranian economists told the president that his economic policies were "inexpert" and lacking "any basis in science", and were wasting the country's oil wealth.

In a letter read in public during the meeting, the economists told Ahmadinejad his government was ignoring academic findings, wasting huge oil revenues and enforcing policies that have provoked greater inflation and worsening economic conditions.

State-run television described their meeting with Ahmadinejad as "sincere, frank and scientific" and said the president asked his critics to offer practical solutions.

The economists said they needed detailed government reports to offer detailed practical solutions, according to Iranian newspapers who reported that Ahmadinejad later told the economy ministry to draw up such a report.

Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005 after promising to eradicate poverty and tackle unemployment in the energy-rich country. However rising inflation during the president's term in office has led to increasing criticism from the country's reformists and conservatives.