Iran seeks stable region where ‘it plays stronger role’

TEHRAN, Feb. 02 (MNA) – Iran’s Hassan Rouhani has sat with IRIB Channel One moderators in an interview about a host of issues including his recent visit to Italy and France.

President Rouhani’s government has been seeking to tackle the most pressing issues domestically which is economy, notably inflation and recession, and unemployment and the lion’s share was dedicated to his cabinet's laudable attempts to tame these beasts.

Mr. Rouhani started with sanctions; “sanctions contributed only to 40 per cent of the problems and as the Leader once said, larger part of the issues is domestic.”

“The world now has found that Iran is a stable country, enjoying energy, young work force, and ample economic opportunities. I would promise the nation government’s support for entrepreneurs,” he secured his government’s support for a weak private sector in an economy where government rentier sectors dominated the economy of the country.

Rouhani was led to his recent visit to Italy and France by IRIB moderator: “this was the first time that the head of the government visited a European country along with businessmen from private sector. In Italy, Italian dinner feast had our private sector as well.”

“The crucial question in working with the world in new conditions is whether we are a consumer party or we will be also finding markets overseas which sanctions had taken out of our hands; after JCPOA, a threat is looming, which is a return back to old fashion of buying goods using oil income; on a condition where country is not a productive country, it will be a threat and a damage; we had been exporting oil and run the country, simply,” he argued.  

“An opportunity lies in plunge in oil incomes; we are now distancing from a reliance on oil income; in budget of the fiscal year beginning March 21, 2016, we rely on oil income only  for 25 per cent of budget.”

He then used the similarity of war conditions to compare situation under sanctions: “in war, we had built many items including weapons. The conditions forced us to make much of limited resources under the tense conditions. The Leader had demanded that we should not sell raw material, but to export value-added products of petrochemical industries; this is a condition which fits most our current situation; however, we should have a strong will to prevent a return to economic conditions before plummeting oil prices.”

“We had Putin visiting the country in November, we had Chinese president Xi Jinping this month. We have regular exchange of trade delegations from around the world. We do not have a plan to turn to west. We should create conditions so that we could actually select the countries as our partners, for example in Asia, China, India, and Japan. Relations with Asian countries are important for us. With China, we decided to plan long-term 25-year bilateral relations.”

“The investments made in Iran should bring about employment and give access to Iranians for global markets. For example, we could have automaking industry as the target industry, we should export high-profile and quality cars by joint working with French Peugeot. With Airbus, we have a 16-year agreement where we will not pay even a cent of oil income. We will generate income through these planes and will repay its price, and ultimately we will be owner in the end,” was Rouhani’s response to questions whether recent agreements would contribute to generating income.

“Once we had an upper hand in air travel. We should revive those ‘golden days;’ which would also contribute to tourism, by activating service sector of the economy. We should organize our capabilities in tourism, which include railroad and airlines.”

“Today, any debate should focus upon construction of country after JCPOA and sanctions. Today, our concern should be cooperation with the world, to which domestic improvements could be added. We should fight corruption. We should give hands to build the country anew and I invest much hope in the current conditions of the country. We should reach and remain in the competition line with countries in the region and Asian countries as well. We should go for investments in the manner India and China did.”

“We do not have a plan to use the unfrozen money; we seek to use investments and invite private sector to participate in the economy in joint ventures with foreign investors. The most important contributors will be domestic entrepreneurs.”

“To tackle the problem of employment, we should target a growth of 8 per cent. We also should work to tame the refractory mule of inflation down to the same figure. We predict a 5 per cent economic growth for fiscal year beginning March 21, 2016. To keep the current unemployment rate and the status quo, we should face demanding job of creating employment, while we had edged on zero on growth and employment last year. We would have some hope that unemployment would be down to a single-digit figure through a great feat of creating 1 million jobs annually.”

“Iran has good ties with China and will cooperate with Japan, with India and South Korea as well. We seek to have relations with African countries, we should see the advantages in those countries. In Latin America, we also should seek the same components, we even welcome US entrepreneurs. Asia is a priority however; we should not be stuck in retaliatory measures. However, we should not forget our friends who helped us in difficult times. We should have a view to the future. Any country could compensate for their dark past when they had behaved with hostility.”  

“Some countries behaved grossly; however, if they seek to make for their past, our nation will welcome; if they continue enmity, we will also respond strongly which will give lessons to those countries; I hope that we will not reach that level of hostility. We seek a region of peace where we have stability development and peace for all, and Iran remains strong. We should not have Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and others in current situations. We seek to help them in line with policies.”

“On Syria and Iraq, we seek to help citizens in the region to survive terrorism; some countries support terrorism either inadvertently or deliberately. We want all countries’ territorial integrity, we would help the nations in the region in war and peace. In line with this principle, we are in the negotiations and believe that Syrian crisis has a political solution and military measure would not solve anything special. We will stand with Syrian people and government.”

“There is an ongoing debate on who is terrorist and who is not in the third round of Syrian peace talks in Geneva. Over some groups, there is a general consensus.”

“We do not have any interest in conflict. We have good relations with Russia and Turkey, we will wage any attempt within our reach to help deescalate the tension. Tension would not benefit any country, as some countries would inaccurately assume.”

“Elections in February 26 is very important. Our nation has an important mission as well. Government has great responsibility to hold the elections and I am satisfied with the process. I thank the participants and candidates, either disqualified or qualified for election campaign. I hope the authorities comply with the constitution in their workings. We should work to contribute to an election which is highly competitive and healthy as well. We should prevent rumours of engineered elections. A high turnout is crucial in sending the most qualified candidates to Parliament. We have had so far a good accord and harmony with other government branches. People should elect individuals with more experience and expertise. We will have a Parliament where representatives will attend to their responsibilities in the best manner possible.”

“Constructive cooperation domestically is also important. If executive and legislative branches work together to solve issues, country will be on the right track to success and tackling its crucial problems. People’s choice is respected and will remain so. I hope that nation accurately evaluate the situation in choosing the candidates,” concluded the president.




News Code 114113


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