Need to Promote Economic Progress
Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said plans to revive the economy should top the government's agenda and singled out unemployment and inflation as the two major problems in need of special attention.
"Authorities should pay full attention to economic issues. Although cultural and scientific matters are also important, economic issues should be given priority in the short term," Ayatollah Khamenei was quoted as saying by his official website.
He made the call in a Wednesday meeting in Tehran with people from different walks of life from East Azarbaijan Province.
"Despite the government's efforts, national capabilities have not yet been fully tapped," he said.
The Leader noted that achieving an 8% growth target is possible by exploiting the full domestic potential.
"Real growth means boosting production and domestic economic strength; in other words, Resistance Economy, and not just seeking to ramp up oil sales, although it is also useful," he said.
Resistance Economy is a set of principles outlined by the Leader to bolster national production and productivity and wean the country off oil revenues.
Ayatollah Khamenei dismissed the repeated US threats of military action against the Islamic Republic as a diversionary tactic to distract Iranians from the ongoing "economic battle".
"It is an absolute lie meant to divert attention from the real economic battle to a military conflict, so our officials will lose focus on economic development and western cultural war against the Iranian nation," he said.
Every recent US president, including even Democrat Barack Obama, who negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, said US military options were not off the table in dealing with Iran.
But the new Republican president, Donald Trump, who has vowed a hardened Iran policy, appears to have gone further in his rhetoric.
Trump warned Iran over a recent ballistic missile test, saying it is "playing with fire" and that his administration would not be as "kind" toward Iran as that of his predecessor Obama.
He has said he would rule out nothing, including military action, when it comes to Iran.