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Rouhani appears before parliament to answer economic questions

29 August 2018 13:59

 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has appeared before the Parliament to answer a series of questions raised by lawmakers on his administration’s economic performance.

During Tuesday’s parliamentary session, lawmakers posed questions on the Rouhani administration’s handling of the country’s economic issues, including a high unemployment rate, slow economic growth and a devaluation of Iran’s rial currency as well as goods and currency smuggling.

The lawmakers are also critical of the continuation of banking sanctions against Tehran despite the 2015 nuclear deal — under which those restrictions should no longer exist.

Responding to the lawmakers’ questions, Rouhani defended his administration’s performance in two rounds. Based on the results of a vote conducted at the end of the session, the parliamentarians were not convinced with the president’s answers on four out of the five questions raised. They only found the president’s response to the issue of banking sanctions satisfying.

First assuming power in 2013, President Rouhani’s “Prudence and Hope” government has been credited with clinching a historical nuclear accord with world states only two years later.

The agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), relieved the country of nuclear-related sanctions – including those imposed by the US — and was subsequently endorsed in the form of a UN Security Council resolution.

In May, however, the US left the deal in clear breach of its international obligations, and reinstated sanctions against Iran as part of its fresh campaign of economic pressure.

A first round of the bans came into force earlier this month, while the second batch is due to take effect in early November.

The government has vowed to try to make good on its pledges of commitment to national prosperity and counter the Washington-led campaign of economic pressure.

Iran’s parliament, the Majlis, has on several occasions called Rouhani’s ministers to account.

Already this month, it has removed Labor Minister Ali Rabi’ei, and Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Masoud Karbasian in back-to-back impeachments.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at the Parliament in Tehran, on August 28, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

‘We will defeat US plots’

During his comments to lawmakers, Rouhani touched on Washington’s attempts to pile up economic pressure, assuring the nation that the US will face defeat in its anti-Iran plots.

“We need to tell the Iranian nation that we will not allow the United States’ plots to succeed. The nation should be sure that we will not allow a bunch of anti-Iranians, who have gathered at the White House today, to plot against us,” Rouhani said.

“We have no fear of the United States, nor do we fear problems, and will put them behind us appropriately,” Rouhani asserted.

Elsewhere, the president defended the nuclear agreement his administration had reached with world states, saying that Tehran had entered the deal to prove the peaceful nature of its nuclear program to the international community.

“In the JCPOA, we made achievements that will never die,” said the president.

Rouhani added that the nuclear deal helped resolve “a great part” of the country’s economic issues by lifting the sanctions.

The deal also closed the case of the so-called possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program, paving the way for the removal of military bans on the country, he added.

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