Functioning Economy Will Help Curb Crime

Functioning Economy Will Help Curb CrimeFunctioning Economy Will Help Curb Crime

President Hassan Rouhani said efforts to underpin a functioning economy, weather years of downturn and build decent growth rates are the key to the anti-crime campaign.

"A great economic [reform] movement needs to be launched to boost employment, especially for the youth, and by extension, create an economic boom. Unemployment, which is at the root of many crimes and irregularities, has been fueled by an ailing economy," Rouhani said, IRNA reported.

"Efforts to tackle the economic slumber and joblessness are critical to the effective prevention of crime in the society," he was quoted by IRNA as saying in a ceremony to mark National Judiciary Week in Tehran on Tuesday.

Rouhani championed last July's nuclear deal with the major powers, which scaled back Tehran's nuclear program in return for relief from punitive international economic sanctions.

He hopes to capitalize on the momentum created in the absence of sanctions to push through his economic agenda by encouraging and attracting foreign investment and technology.

***Better Conditions

With the national economy emerging slowly and shedding the shackles of the sanctions, the situation now bodes well for its revival and growth, the president said.

"Conditions are better than ever to revitalize the economy. We have managed to go so far as to reverse negative growth rates," he noted.

Not in the distant past "Our economy was suffering a severe slump and growth was deep into negative territory (-7% during the tenure of the former government). Thus, it was meaningless to talk about a flourishing economy. However, growth rose to three percent in the year from March 2013 and one percent the following year. We are now determined to reach the five percent target set for the current year."

Domestic critics of the nuclear deal and the president's strong political opponents, who claim it has failed to deliver the dividends promised by the government, oppose his plans to reintegrate with the international community.

The opposition camp sees an opening by Rouhani to foreign trade as a major potential blow to their conservative agenda because, they claim, it could help hostile western powers make inroads into the country.

***Need to Reassure Investors

Rouhani castigated his opponents and sought to reinforce his case for mutually beneficial engagement with foreign powers and attracting oversees capital. "We need more investment to revive the economy and create employment."

He stressed the need to build a business climate conducive to both domestic and foreign investment through measures to build investor confidence.

"We should reassure international investors and entrepreneurs about investment security [in Iran's market]."

In the early days of the year, a group of protestors enraged by the Saudi execution of leading Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr stormed the Arab kingdom's embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad.    

Tehran-Riyadh tensions escalated in the wake of the attack, leading Saudi officials to sever bilateral diplomatic ties.

Shortly afterward, Saudi allies rallied behind the oil kingdom one after another to either cut or downgrade relations with the Islamic Republic.

Rouhani was quick to condemn the attack on the diplomatic missions as "a blatant breach of Islamic values" and "a blow to the credibility and reputation of the Islamic Republic."

He tasked the Interior Ministry with investigating the event in cooperation with the judiciary to identify the attackers and bring them to justice.

Judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei said earlier this month that the trial for the 48 suspects already indicted in the case was due to start on July 18.

With only a few weeks remaining until the first court session, Rouhani on Tuesday cautioned the judiciary that the people are watching closely and expect a fair trial.

"The public is monitoring how the judiciary will handle the case of the unruly elements who have violated the law and national security by assaulting a foreign embassy," in a rare public message to the justice-dispensing system.