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Iran's Stats Center Takes Over Reporting Of Economic Indicators

Slow growth
Slow growth
An Iranian official says major economic indicators will no longer be announced by the Central Bank but will instead be reported by the Statistics Center of Iran, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Adel Azar, head of the Statistics Center, confirmed the change to the semi-official Fars news agency on August 4.

Paris-based economist Fereidoun Khavand told Radio Farda that Iran's Central Bank has been responsible for calculating and announcing the country's inflation rate since it was established in 1960. He said he thinks the reason for the switch is that the bank is refusing to follow government orders.

Khavand said that appointing the Statistics Center of Iran as the final authority to announce the inflation rate indicates that the government is trying to impose greater control over how the statistics are announced.

Iran's Central Bank has not stated the country's official economic growth rate for the past two years.

"The bank knows that Iran's economic growth rate was around 0.5 percent in 2008," said Khavand. "But it has been under government pressure not to publish it as it is in contradiction with [President] Mahmud Ahmadinejad's words in this regard."

Ahmadinejad recently claimed that the economy is healthy and growing, despite increasingly restrictive economic sanctions from the United States and European Union.