Cabinet Instructed to Prioritize Job Creation

The unstable policies of the Trump administration have undermined US relations with its allies and Washington is not well positioned to reunite its friends against Iran
President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a televised interview on Aug. 29.President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a televised interview on Aug. 29.

The recently reelected chief executive said he has urged his Cabinet members to prioritize job creation schemes, stressing that the government will work hard to stimulate investment, which is indispensible for achieving its top goal.

President Hassan Rouhani made the statement in an interview with state television on Tuesday to outline the orientation of his second-term administration.

Rouhani described as a "thorny dilemma" the high rate of unemployment that stood at %12.4 in the last Iranian year (ended March 20, 2017), saying the top public demand during the presidential election was employment.

The centrist cleric said his first administration could create a maximum of 650,000 jobs per year, while over one million Iranians start looking for jobs annually.

Rouhani said although there are only a handful of governments in the world that can create over 600,000 jobs per year, his second government aims to generate over 900,000 jobs annually.

"To achieve this goal, the government has no options but to create a business environment conducive to entrepreneurs and investors," he said.

"We ought to make it safe for investors to enter the market and invite domestic and foreign investors, particularly expatriates, to come forward. We have already taken great steps to spur investment and have managed to sign investment deals worth up to $13 billion after JCPOA."

Rouhani, whose proposed ministers were overwhelmingly approved by the parliament earlier this month, also vowed to sustain the high economic growth rate and eliminate extreme poverty.

The 68-year-old president, a staunch supporter of broader international engagement, worked hard during his first term to revitalize the underperforming economy.

He championed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers that removed harsh international sanctions, in the hope of attracting much-needed foreign investment and technology to boost domestic production and create jobs.

However, a combination of factors, including a plunge in global oil prices and the uncooperative approach of the US, a party to the deal, limited his success in achievng the declared goals.


  Trump Unable to Pose Obstacles

Asked whether the antagonistic moves by US President Donald Trump would hinder his economic policies by scaring foreigners away from the Iranian market, Rouhani said he believes US threats "do not work anymore" as many overseas companies have already entered Iran.

Trump is itching to ditch the nuclear deal, which he has frequently hammered as a "disaster", and is currently seeking ways to pull out of it to please his allies and sell more arms.

Media reports suggest he has been advised by his aides not to act unilaterally as it would isolate the US, and instead lobby to convince Europeans and other allies that the deal should be abrogated and their anti-Iran coalition needs to be revived.

The president said international sanctions are now history and it would be "impossible" for the US to snap back the international pressure on Iran.

"The international scene has hugely changed and the world's view on Iran appears to be dramatically different," he said.

Rouhani said the unstable policies of the US president have undermined US relations with its allies and Washington is not well positioned to unite its friends against Iran.

"In the past decades, whenever the US wanted to forge consensus against us, it has sought help from the European Union and other allies. But now this is not possible," he said.

Despite Trump's calls for the destruction of the deal, other signatories to the two-year pact, namely the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China, seem to be in consensus over the need to save the deal that settled a 12-year dispute.

As recently as Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said there was no alternative to the nuclear deal signed with Iran.

"Today, the US is in its worst position and Iran is in its best," Rouhani said.

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