Rouhani Renews Vow to Revive Economy

Rouhani Renews Vow to Revive EconomyRouhani Renews Vow to Revive Economy

President Hassan Rouhani reaffirmed a pledge to revitalize the economy, despite attempts by his political opponents to hinder the government's efforts.

"The government will restore prosperity to the economy, just as it has managed to cut inflation to a single digit," he was quoted as saying by IRNA in a public address in Kermanshah Province on Sunday.

Rouhani said his government primarily aims to address widespread unemployment, one of its biggest challenges, by rebuilding the domestic economy, which emerged from years of crippling sanctions after a historic nuclear deal with the six powers took effect in January.

Iran accepted temporary curbs on its nuclear program in return for the sanctions relief.

"One of the country's major problems is unemployment. It cannot be resolved without spurring economic growth and focusing on Resistance Economy," he said.

Resistance Economy is a set of principles outlined by the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to bolster the national economy and productivity, and wean the country off oil revenues.

Rouhani hopes to capitalize on the nuclear accord to push its plans for economic reforms by opening up to the world and attracting foreign investment.

However, his political opponents, mainly from among the anti-western conservatives, have resisted the moderate president's push, claiming that hostile foreign governments could exploit the opening to make inroads into the country.

"Some in the country are of no use, only promoting a sense of frustration in the society and portraying the situation as dark and unfortunately they are doing so out loud," Rouhani said.

"With the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [the nuclear deal's formal title], we repelled the aggressors, including the United States. How can some people be upset by this [achievement]?"

***Tough Anti-Corruption Stance

Referring to the recent high-profile corruption cases against some officials, particularly those serving under former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president called for serious action by the judiciary to identify and bring to justice such offenders.

"The people will not forget how some individuals plundered the public funds under various pretexts, including bypassing the sanctions," he said. "We demand that the judiciary never condone those who stole the public assets. The people now want the assets back."

On recent revelations about inflated payments to senior government officials, which created a scandal leading to dismissals and resignations of some economic figures, Rouhani said such violations are not confined to the government.

"We'd like to be straight with the public to say that regrettably such violations have been prevalent in all state bodies and they are not limited to the executive branch," he said, laying part of the blame on supervising authorities.

"There are many supervisory bodies … but they have failed to carry out their duties," he said.

The payments, some of which were as high as dozens of times the average monthly income of average employees, were first exposed by news agencies close to Rouhani's political opponents. The source of the leaks has not been identified.

"We should not let [the issue] distract us from the previous acts of theft. Because some people intend to drag the issue of pay-slips to deflect the public attention from those thefts," he said.