Sep 16, 2020 06:21 UTC
  • Iran had been critical of World Bank rankings for years: Deputy finance minister

An Iranian deputy finance minister says an announcement last month by the World Bank about data collection irregularities used in compiling the annual Doing Business reports proved Iran was right in its criticism of the body and its rankings.

Mohammad Ali Dehghan said on Tuesday that for years Iran was of the view that the World Bank adopted a politicized approach in issuing its closely watched annual ranking of countries’ business and investment climates.

“In dealing with countries, the World Bank has some sort of playing politics and unjust approach which we have repeatedly touched upon,” Dehghan was quoted by the IRIB News.

The comments came more than two weeks after the Washington-based World Bank suspended issuing its Doing Business reports to probe data collection irregularities and review processes that lead to their publication.

The announcement came after a notable economist working for the group accused the reports of being biased against certain governments.

Others have raised criticism about how countries like Saudi Arabia and Jordan have sharply improved their economic situation in a matter of a year and jumped nearly 30 places in the 2019 edition of the ranking.

Dehghan said that independent trade and business groups in Iran have been repeatedly disappointed by the World Bank’s refusal to consider real reforms that have taken place in the country’s economy.

“We have had economic reforms in the country in recent years ... and chambers of commerce, guilds and cooperatives had relayed these reforms in written correspondences to the World Bank,” he said, adding, “However, the reforms carried out were never accepted by the Bank.”

Iran has managed to improve its key economic indicators over the past years despite suffering from a fresh round of American sanctions that have seriously hampered foreign investment in the country.