Rouhani Calls for Non-Selective Anti-Graft Drive

President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a meeting with officials from government inspection institutions in Tehran on Dec. 28.  President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a meeting with officials from government inspection institutions in Tehran on Dec. 28.
A prerequisite for growth and development is addressing corruption because it seriously harms the social capital of public trust

President Hassan Rouhani called on all state sectors to help his administration in the campaign against corruption and, by extension, revive the sanctions-hit economy.

“Improving the economy, ethics and unity is contingent on a non-selective approach to the fight  against corruption,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by his official website in an address to officials from government inspection institutions on Wednesday.

“A prerequisite for growth and development [by] implementing the Resistance Economy is addressing corruption because corruption seriously harms the social capital” of public trust, he said.

Resistance Economy is a comprehensive economic concept outlined by the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to boost domestic production and productivity, and wean the country off oil revenues.

Rouhani has faced strong criticism from his conservative rivals and fellow moderates for what they see as failure to meet his promise of major economic reforms, ahead of the May presidential polls.

The 2015 nuclear deal that he hoped to capitalize to jumpstart the ailing economy has done little to lure much-needed foreign investment into the untapped Iranian market.

The bodies entrusted with probing high-profile cases of fraud and graft should be accountable to the people by regularly publicizing the result of their investigations.

“Lack of accountability would inflict more than just [financial losses]; it would cost us the public trust, which is an important form of social capital,” he stressed.

“It is essential that people have complete trust in the judicial apparatus because a contributing factor to prevention of crime is the soundness of the judicial system.”

Early this month, Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence issued in March in the case of a wealthy businessman Babak Zanjani who was convicted for corruption.

Prosecutors have accused Zanjani of owing the government more than $2.7 billion for oil sold on behalf of the Oil Ministry.

Rouhani said the occurrence of a crime on such a large scale highlights the need to overhaul the current system of inspection.

He has protested the death penalty, arguing that executing Zanjani would make it impossible to recover the embezzled funds and uncover the identity of those who supported him.

Rouhani said the effective implementation of the anti-corruption campaign needs the cooperation of two other branches of government as well as the public to help establish an efficient national inspection system.

“Any authority and position in a system that is not subject to some sort of inspection and monitoring is highly prone to corruption,” he said.

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