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‘Iran’s Unemployment’ Ignites Elections… Candidates Battle with Numbers | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An Iranian woman walks past election posters of President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on April 23, 2017. (AFP)

London – Unemployment in Iran weighed heavily on the fourth day of the presidential campaigns as candidates exchanged accusations and contested with numbers.

While conservative candidate Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf vowed on Monday to provide five million jobs if he wins the election, he was accused by the Iranian president’s ally and vice president, candidate Eshaq Jahangiri of “duping the people.”

Without naming Ghalibaf, Jahangiri said: “Some people present slogans about creating job opportunities at specific levels. Those launching the promises had either never offered job opportunities, or had missed the numbers and statistics of unemployment.”

Jahangiri added: “Those speaking about creating millions of job opportunities clearly want to fool the people.”

However, Ghalibaf quickly fired back from Qom by saying: “Those saying there is an impossibility to provide five million job opportunities are looking at other places (the West). Today, brokers manage the economy.”

Therefore, the ship of elections bumped into the tsunami of escalating unemployment in the country.

Conservative candidate Ebrahim Raisi pledged to work on decreasing its level to 8 percent.

On Sunday, Iran’s parliament discussed the crisis of unemployment. Mehr news agency quoted member of the parliament’s presiding board Akbar Ranjbarzadeh as saying that Iran’s Labor Minister informed parliament about the presence of 3.2 million unemployed Iranians, while parliament’s statistics show that 7 million were jobless.

Labor and Social Welfare Minister Ali Rabiei admitted that providing one million job opportunities in Iran could not improve the level of unemployment.

Meanwhile, Tasnim news agency published a paragraph from Rouhani’s 2013 presidential campaign in which he speaks about providing 4 million job opportunities, only by reviving the tourism sector in Iran.

A focus on unemployment during the current presidential race came in accordance with the “economic resistance” launched by Iranian spiritual leader Ali Khamenei on the eve of Iran’s New Year, celebrated on March 20.