Call for Empowering Rural Communities

The president calls on all political and social groups to make a collective effort to address widespread unemployment, which is the main challenge facing the government
Call for Empowering Rural CommunitiesCall for Empowering Rural Communities

President Hassan Rouhani highlighted the need to empower rural communities by helping them engage in "industrial agriculture, small- and medium-sized enterprises and tourism development" to effectively combat high levels of rural unemployment.

"I do not believe that [the role of] villages should be limited to [traditional] farming," Rouhani said in a speech at a conference to mark the National Day of Village and Nomads in Tehran on Saturday.

"Although agriculture has traditionally been the core of rural activity, industrial agriculture, SMEs and tourism need to grow alongside it in villages," he was quoted as saying by his official website.

The president noted that the considerable number of deserted rural areas and increasingly populous city suburbs indicate that villagers and nomads are not getting the attention they deserve.

Lamenting the high jobless rate, especially among educated women, Rouhani called on all political and social groups to contribute to a collective effort to address widespread unemployment, which he said could breed many social problems.

"Our main concern should be boosting youth employment. Unemployment is our main challenge," he said.

He criticized media outlets, mostly affiliated with his conservative rivals, for their critical stance on his decision earlier this week to change three of his Cabinet members ahead of the 2017 presidential election.

Rouhani issued a statement on Friday to officially accept the resignations of Minister of Islamic Guidance and Culture Ali Jannati, Minister of Education Ali Asghar Fani and Minister of Sports and Youth Mahmoud Goudarzi.

"Some media should stop lying, making false allegations and creating rifts … and saying that the government should not change ministers to maintain national stability," he said.

"Certain newspapers and websites constantly demanded the government replace its ministers. Now the same newspapers and websites are criticizing it for making such changes in the Cabinet."

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