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Ahwaz trade official attacks government policy

The Director of the Ahwaz Chamber of Commerce has condemned central government policy for hindering industrial development in the Arab-majority Khuzestan province.

According to the Mehr News Agency, the trade official accused state-owned companies of seriously damaging the local economy and the environment. He added that Iranian industries in the province were unable to compete with countries like Turkey on the neighbouring Iraqi market due to excessive government interference, which was undermining the quality of industrial products.

The official's attacks on government policy come just days after a four-day tour of the province by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who claimed that he had endorsed a number of projects for industrial development. The vote of no confidence indicates that few industrialists have faith in the Ahmadinejad administration's economic policies.

Ahwazi Arabs have also accused the government of economic mismanagement and racial discrimination, which have created African levels of poverty in one of the world's most oil-rich regions.