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Rouhani Criticizes Security Bodies’ Interference with Iran’s Economy | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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FILE PHOTO: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani gestures as he registers to run for a second four-year term in the May election, in Tehran, Iran, April 14, 2017. President.ir/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

London – Outgoing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized the meddling of security bodies with the country’s economy.

In a speech delivered three weeks ahead of Iran’s presidential elections, Rouhani underlined the influence of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), without naming it, on the Iranian economy and the private sector in particular, which has driven foreign investors out.

“How can we think of productivity while the economic atmosphere is not competitive,” the president asked.

“We should not disappoint employers and intimidate investors,” Rouhani warned, according to ILNA news agency.

Rouhani also called for preserving the “path of moderation” to overcome current challenges, noting: “Extremism and violence did not lead to happiness in any country.”

The outgoing president’s comments came in contradiction with the stance of Iran’s Religious Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has called on the six presidential candidates not to rely on foreign investment to revive the country’s economy.

“We can attract 140 billion dollars of investment that can help to tackle unemployment,” Rouhani stated.

Defending his presidential record, Rouhani said: “The living standards of Iranians have improved … incomes of pensioners and those on welfare support have increased in the past four years.”

He added that he took five urgent measures to pull Iran back from the edge of an abyss: resuming nuclear negotiations to “break the siege on Iran”, taming the rampant inflation, overcoming economic stagnation, enhancing people’s purchasing power and normalizing Iran’s relations with the international community.

Meanwhile, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani criticized presidential candidates’ electoral promises.

Iran’s local news agencies quoted Larijani as saying that electoral candidates should refrain from making promises that are difficult to achieve.

The speaker went on to describe Iran’s problems as “complicated”, and warned against committing mistakes on the international and local levels and mismanaging the country’s affairs.