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Leader Urges Support for Domestic Products in New Year

“If domestic production is accelerated through efforts and follow-up by everyone, many of the people’s livelihood problems as well as employment and investment issues will be resolved and social problems will largely decrease,” the Leader said
Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei delivers a speech in Mashhad on March 21. Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei delivers a speech in Mashhad on March 21.

In a bid to help make the economy more self-sufficient, Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has called the new Iranian year, which began on March 21, the year of “Support for Iranian Products”.

“If domestic production is accelerated through efforts and follow-up by everyone, many of the people’s livelihood problems as well as employment and investment issues will be resolved and social problems will largely decrease,” the Leader said in his New Year message, his official website reported.    

Ayatollah Khamenei, who has in recent years repeatedly emphasized the importance of insulating the economy from sanctions and hostile foreign activity, said supporting domestic products and industries plays a significant role in easing the economic woes facing the country.  

Effective measures have been taken over the past several years to create more job opportunities and boost national production but a lot more needs to be done in this regard, he noted, calling on the public and authorities to use and help promote home-made goods.

 

  Crucial Steps

The Leader also underlined the importance of reducing reliance on imports in a speech in the holy city of Mashhad, the capital of the northeastern Khorasan Razavi Province, on the first day of the new year.

He said detailed planning to step up production, improving the quality of Iranian products, adapting them to the taste and requirements of consumers and making them more competitive with foreign-made ones can help spur investments in and development of local industries.    

Ayatollah Khamenei urged the country’s diplomats, economic officials and business people to focus on identifying new export markets as it will help create employment in the country.    

"Another necessary measure is strict control by the government over imports," he stated, adding, "Products that are being produced or can be produced inside the country should definitely not be imported."

  Fight Against Smuggling

In his speech, the Leader cited smuggling as a major hindrance to the growth of the economy. "People should resolutely avoid buying and using smuggled products so that smuggling would lose its appeal."

He touted Iran’s achievements since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, saying, "The performance of authorities has been good in regard to providing security and stability, science and technology, infrastructure—such as construction of transport links, dams, power plants and ports—non-oil exports, gross domestic product per capita and social development."

However, enemies have been seeking to tarnish the country’s image to make people suspicious of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khamenei added.

His comments came after US President Donald Trump used his message to Iranians celebrating the arrival of spring to lambast the Tehran leadership, particularly the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.

In a statement released on March 19, Trump claimed Iranian officials are "rulers who serve themselves instead of serving the people" and accused the IRGC of engaging in corruption and mismanagement of the economy, Reuters reported.

The Leader explained that certain improvements are expected to achieve better results in all areas.

Officials should have a stronger belief in national capabilities and redouble their efforts to help utilize the potential of the youth, better manage resources, reduce the economy’s reliance on oil, fight corruption and make the economy self-reliant, he said, adding that an inward-looking economic policy does not mean “closing the country’s doors” to foreigners.

  US Failure

On regional issues, Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran played an important role in defeating the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group and bringing peace to many parts of the region and blamed the United States for instability in the Middle East.  

“The Americans were seeking to engage regional nations in civil wars and deflect their attention away from the occupying Zionist regime through creating evil, cruel and audacious groups such as Daesh. However, with the grace of God, we managed to foil this plot,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

The Leader stated that Washington’s fight against the IS militant group is a “lie”, adding that the US benefits from the existence of such groups as long as they are under its control.

He pointed to the US military presence in Afghanistan, which has lasted for more than 16 years, as an example of the West’s failure to foster stability in the region.

Ayatollah Khamenei also dismissed allegations of Iran’s interference in the internal affairs of regional countries, saying “They asked for help, and we helped them.”

  Main Priorities

In a message to mark the New Year, President Hassan Rouhani, who has pursued a policy of opening Iran to more international trade and investment, said he will champion greater self-sufficiency and support for domestic products.  

"The new year is a year of investment and production. We should work to stimulate production with full force. Our national power will contribute to our production, and it is entrepreneurs who can take important steps during the new year," he said, according to his official website.

The president is under pressure for his economic record marked by failure to bolster the economy since certain sanctions imposed on the country were lifted in 2015 following the nuclear agreement with world powers.  

The slow economic recovery is partly due to the fact that foreign investors are wary of trading with or investing in Iran since they fear penalties from remaining unilateral US sanctions and Trump’s tough approach to the Islamic Republic.

Hailing his administration’s accomplishments, Rouhani said the main priorities during the past year were bringing down unemployment and combating poverty and that he will continue to work toward these goals.    

“Although we faced the issue of water scarcity, our farmers made us and the great nation proud by making us self-sufficient in wheat,” he added, noting that expansion of the rail network across the country is another recent achievement.

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