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Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri addresses personnel of security departments in state institutions in Tehran on Sept. 3.
Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri addresses personnel of security departments in state institutions in Tehran on Sept. 3.

Curbing Corruption a Gov't Priority

Jahangiri said corruption is acting like a swarm of termites gnawing at the pillars of the country and undermining people's trust

Curbing Corruption a Gov't Priority

Upholding the rule of law is high on the government's agenda to prevent corruption from spreading in the society, the first vice president said.
"From the viewpoint of the government and president [Hassan Rouhani], law abidance, the rule of law and the campaign against corruption are a priority," Es'haq Jahangiri was also quoted as saying by Fars News Agency on Saturday.
Addressing a meeting of officials from the security divisions of state organizations, Jahangiri said, "Unfortunately, corruption is infecting the country and it is becoming institutionalized and systemic. It has permeated institutions we never expected."
Iranian officials have raised warnings about the alarming rate of corruption and Rouhani, who took office in 2013, has taken a tough line against it and has assigned Jahangiri to lead a special taskforce to address the issue.

  Glaring Problem
Jahangiri warned that the spread of corruption could result in people losing faith in the system, stressing that everybody should help eliminate this glaring problem in the Islamic Republic.
"I strongly believe that corruption is acting like a swarm of termites gnawing at the pillars of the country and undermining people's trust, which is the most valuable asset of a republic," he said.
Rouhani has said his government is focused on promoting transparency regarding the performance of state and non-state institutions, as well as eliminating corruption, rent-seeking and smuggling.
He is struggling to push his plans for the domestic economy to recover from the effects of international sanctions, despite opposition from conservative rivals.
Iran emerged from years of sanctions in mid-January, when a deal clinched six months earlier with major powers came into full force.
In return for the sanctions relief, Tehran accepted temporary curbs on its nuclear program.
Experts believe that besides the lingering non-nuclear US sanctions, widespread domestic corruption and lack of transparency also contribute to the reluctance of foreign firms and banks to approach Iranians for trade. Jahangiri also pointed to the high rate of contraband smuggling and said the uncontrolled inflow of smuggled goods has hurt the national economy.
According to official figures, $14 billion worth of contraband annually enter the country and $1 billion are smuggled overseas.
"Smuggling on such a large scale is rare across the world," he said.
Smuggling poses a serious threat to domestic production, which forms the cornerstone of Resistance Economy, a national initiative outlined by the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to bolster domestic production and wean the country off oil revenues.

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