Iranian presidential candidate Ebrahim Raeisi outlines his plans to curb poverty and unemployment, which he describes as the root causes of corruption and other social woes.
In a talk show on state television on Wednesday, the 56-year-old, who is a candidate of the Popular Front of the Islamic Revolution Forces, said there is an urgent need to improve the country’s economic situation in favor of the poor.
He pointed to high unemployment, particularly among youths and university graduates, saying “official statistics show the total rate currently stands at 12 percent in the country, but when it comes to students, the figure is over 40 percent, of which nearly 30 percent are young people.”
The candidate said “the jobless rate should be reduced to 8 percent based on the 6th 5-Year Development Plan,” stressing that millions of jobs need to be created to reach that goal.
“We believe this [development] plan must become operational and it is absolutely possible to do that based on our agenda,” he said.
“We are determined to change the economic situation in favor of people,” said Raeisi, stressing that “corruption and social harms” stem from unemployment, which could produce a sharp decline in living standards.
Raeisi emphasized the need to take pre-emptive measures in the fight against economic corruption, saying Iran’s “banking system must be shaped in a way that it would cut off any possibility of embezzlement.”
He further said his administration would be open to criticism if he wins the May 19 presidential race. Listening to critical voices, he added, could serve as an effective means of getting to know the problems and working to resolve them.
During the show, the candidate was also asked to elaborate on his foreign policy agenda, especially the measures he would take as president in the face of US threats.
Raeisi described “national unity” as the key to countering Washington’s anti-Iran moves, stressing that resistance against enemies is a source of power for the country.
“Besides political might, we should have a powerful economy,” he said. “The US cannot do anything in the face of our national unity.”
‘Protecting Iran, a top priority’
Mostafa Hashemi-Taba, another presidential candidate, also gave a live speech on state TV as election campaigns heat up.
The Reformist contender said candidates should avoid making pledges to “buy votes” even if “those promises are realizable.”
The 70-year-old candidate said officials should not take pride in measures taken to promote the country’s infrastructure as they are part of the government’s duties.
Hashemi-Taba further highlighted the threats facing the environment and natural resources of the country, adding, “We have extracted millions of cubic meters of gas as well as crude oil, which are not renewable.”
“We are duty-bound to safeguard this soil,” he said. “The top priority today is to protect Iran.”
He further praised the guidelines of Resistant Economy, saying if the measures are put into practice, they could increase the country’s revenues.
The candidate also stressed the need to create job opportunities and work to promote production and services.