People Entitled to Demand Accountability, Transparency

The president believes that the success of the government’s campaign to curb rampant, organized corruption requires all sectors of the establishment to be bound by strict transparency rules
People Entitled to Demand Accountability, Transparency People Entitled to Demand Accountability, Transparency

President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged the public right to hold the government accountable for any controversial budget allocations, blaming some state cultural bodies for a lack of financial transparency and accountability.

"I ask the Iranian people, especially the youth, to keep pursuing the issue of the budget for the next Iranian year [starting March 21] and explore what the budget involves. All the [budget] allocations must be brought into the spotlight," Rouhani was quoted as saying by the presidential website.

He was speaking at a conference on Tuesday to mark the first anniversary of the Charter on Citizens' Rights.

"All the institutions that receive a share of the next year's national budget must report to the people on the details of their budget spending," he added.

The president is facing sharp criticism over the perceived shortcomings in the budget bill he proposed to parliament earlier this month.

Rouhani unveiled the 120-article charter in the closing months of his first term to fulfill one of his electoral promises to clearly delineate, promote and defend the rights of citizens.

He said the success of his government's campaign to curb rampant, organized corruption requires all sectors of the establishment to abide by strict transparency rules.

"Even if we establish hundreds of organizations and dozens of courts to fight corruption, we will not be able to root it out, unless the people see clearly what we are doing. We need to go into glasshouses. We need to step into the spotlight so people can observe all our measures," he said.

***All Equal

The president stressed that no one in this country is above the law, irrespective of the authority they wield, as their most important responsibility is to enforce the law.

The charter is meant to raise public awareness on their rights and commits all government bodies to ensure their enforcement.

Based on the document, citizens enjoy the right to criticize or voice dissatisfaction with the performance of the establishment and public institutions, and offer them advice and invite them to observe the general good.

It commits the government to promote a culture of openness and tolerate constructive criticism.

Rouhani reiterated a pledge by his government to ensure that the charter is upheld in its entirety, instructing all government bodies to report biannually on the implementation of the charter's terms.

"Civil rights must be regarded as the most important and heaviest responsibility of the government and all the ministers, governors general and government bodies should submit a detailed report to me every six months and it is my duty, as the president, to report it to the nation annually."

To become law, the draft budget has to be passed by the parliament and approved by the Guardians Council, a clerical body that vets any legislation's conformity with Islamic precepts and constitutional articles.


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