TEHRAN, Jan. 01 (Press Shia) – Iran’s Hassan Rouhani has spoken to nation in IRIB’s Channel One TV just 5 months after his last address earlier in August 2016.
Moderators Morteza Heidari and Elmira Sharifi Moghaddam hosted Mr. Rouhani. Unsurprisingly, economy and unemployment was the top of other issues Mr. Rouhani addressed first. He believed since the beginning of his administration, unemployment had been on the center stage of the government, with a special focus on university graduates. “From 2006 to present, net employment had been fixed; but the graduates seeking jobs outnumbered the jobs created, which had been merely 14,000 and odds annually,” he told the nation.
“Today however, the number of employed individuals has been 23 million people, but the number of unemployed still tallied with employed people, thus creating a percentage of unemployment yet; but a good news is that the government created outstanding number of jobs, staggering 700,000 net jobs in a year; the demand however is larger than the jobs created. To solve this, all should contribute to a campaign to close this gap; a method is to create grounds for young cohort to work in and produce value-added; cyber space and telecommunication is a proper ground for example; investment also should be attracted,” he emphasized, “social networks should receive more tolerance so that they give people spaces to find self-employment.”
Asked about the economic observers who believe that statistics indicated a general recession, and how this should be addressed, Mr. Rouhani believed the Central Bank was the sole authority to announce economic figures; “the projected 5-per cent economic growth was believed to be an early announcement; however, preliminary figures were indicative of a growth not recession; the focus has been on small-sized businesses with banks delegated to act as providers of finance for these businesses; in the second and third quarters, we have 7.4 per cent growth; in agricultural sector, this growth has been 5.6 per cent; in tourism, we have also a modest growth rate. In industrial sector, there has also been a growth; in oil sector, the growth is evident; the overall figure is comparable to that in the Middle East and will also be higher by March 21, 2017, the end of the fiscal year.”
“In investment attraction, the fiscal year beginning March 22, 2017, we should work harder to keep the same growth rate; after JCPOA, with modest openings for oil sector, huge investment should still be attracted and channeled into the outdated oil industry facilities and wells; the growth rate composition in terms of sectoral figures, situation is hope-inspiring and we believe the growth will be definite for the upcoming fiscal year; given the minus economic growth rates of 2011 and 2012, we have gone a long road to make positive those figures in 2014; non-oil exports have been in par with oil exports and have improved,” Rouhani detailed.
On devaluation of Rial, President Rouhani criticized speculations that government purposefully devaluated national currency to fit its economic policies to control inflation; “we believe national currency improved during the last months; however, the very recent devaluation was transient and the general policy is to control inflation, which would be deteriorated if the exchange rate experience a general perturbation and in a volatile market.”
On important issue of JCPOA, Rouhani reaffirmed Iran’s commitment to the deal and expressed hopes that parties to the deal would act according to their commitments, which would be benefit all sides.
“The JCPOA undoubtedly was a national achievement; regardless of the domestic critics of the deal, it is a great achievement where six world powers admitted that Iran had not been seeking nuclear weapons; Iran sought a win-win situation; the impacts of the JCPOA have already been translated to improvements in our economic figures; if it was not hit, our oil income would have been severely shrunken, with the ensuing lack of liquidity of the government; oil exports helped government to bring some organization to its commitments in payment of its employed staff; this is crucial in terms of bringing the general conditions to a certain level of welfare; in terms of insurance coverage, many underprivileged citizens were covered; such achievements would not be possible except for oil income which was a boon by the JCPOA,” he told Morteza Heidari.
“The situation in our nuclear program is also propitious; we now export heavy water; in our airline industry, we secured deals with Airbus to renew our air fleet; they will be financed by financiers and no public budget will be paid for new planes,” Mr. Rouhani rejoiced to say. “JCPOA restored the world’s trust to Iran; we defeated Iranophobia which had been on agenda by certain countries; now, we are in a position far better than it before JCPOA; in Syrian crisis, the UN resolution on Saturday, admits Iran’s positive and constructive role in resolving the crisis; we secured a situation where many resolutions were cancelled and Iran found recognition in the international community. The commonsense would see these all achievements positive,” he added.
On post-Aleppo Liberation and the current situation in the Middle East, Mr. Rouhani told the nation that Iran’s role had been admitted by the majority of the international community as positive; “in regional policy, we pursue a general stability for the countries in the region as the sole modus operandi of the international relations; terrorism, on the other hand is a threat to global peace and security; in Iran, we are envied by the neighbors, for which we are indebted to our intelligence and military; government and the Establishment had been largely successful in this important matter. In frontiers as well, we see the security and stability, and the military has done excellent job; in Syria and Iraq, Iran has been there only by official requests of those countries; our general policy is to keep the geographical borders on place; we do not sponsor disintegration of the countries; we believe diplomacy and resistance would achieve many things; the ultimate approach is resistance; in Syria, we helped government and people to defeat terrorism, along with dynamism in diplomatic corridors, and in trilateral meeting in Moscow secured good steps and in Astana, we believe we will be witnessing a ground-breaking situation in bringing stability to Syria and final defeat of terrorists,” Rouhani told the nation.
“Istanbul terror attack is condemned; terrorism should be confronted; in the region, there is a long way to go still and all should contribute to that ideal situation to be reached,” he added.
On his cabinet changes and cultural priorities, Mr. Rouhani said that the culture was in the focus, since the first round of cabinet reshuffle hit those ministries; “in terms of hi-tech companies, government has a general policy of sponsoring research in the academia and to facilitate university-industry links; social matters are crucial for the cabinet; unemployment is closely related to young people problems, delinquency and drugs; addiction should be addressed. Single-mothers are also to be a concern; on restrictions on holding concerts, we believe there should be a level of tolerance; no concert should be cancelled with a trifling pretext; there should be a general coordination between different organizations engaged in opening the cultural atmosphere to serve the nation,” he emphasized.
On Citizens Rights Charter, President Rouhani believed his cabinet had been working on the Charter since the government assumed position; “the Charter is the product of hours of discussion and debate by the academia and the experts with the government; the criticism that the government has inaugurated the Charter with plans to affect the results of upcoming presidential elections; with months still for the government to serve the nation, no actions should be seen as propaganda by the government; we believe the Charter should be publicly explained and hope that it will help the national unity; for success of the Charter, however, all government branches should coordinate and cooperate,” he told the nation.
The Salary Bill Scandal was the last but not the least issue touched by Rouhani; “I believe that if the issue should be resolved, then all should cooperate; the government was the first to announce the inordinate amount of the salary bills; the structural glitches along with cronyism and other problems including a large government and a sluggish public sector contribute to the scandal; however, the number of individuals and high-ranking officials had been only few hundreds; lack of transparency in payment system should also be addressed as the most important contributing factor; transparency will pay off and government thus entered action to address the problem and we believe all other parts of the Establishment should follow the suit; we believe there has been no crime committed; we call political parties not to launch this issue as election season issue, since in fighting corruption, all should participate; privatization and smaller government will also be a good option to avoid the situation similar to Salary Bill Scandal,” he said.