TEHRAN -- Presidential candidate Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi said Sunday he will form a “coalition government” with Iranian manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and workers.
Raisi visiting the Abbas Abad industrial town near Tehran, where he met industrial workers and managers, saying his potential administration would coalesce with those active in the production sector.
“The power of the country is today dependent on the power of production,” he said. “Anyone striving to bring about a production boom will be contributing to national security and power.”
Workers and manufacturers, he said, are on the frontline of the Iranian economy and are “the officers and soldiers on the field of progress”.
“People complain about why Iran can build missiles but not quality cars… that is because technology is not spreading from the defense to the industry sector. We will make that happen in the 13th administration,” Raisi said.
On his first day of campaigning, Raeisi visited Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, the symbolic heart of commerce in the Iranian capital, sometimes going behind counters and talking to merchants on the ground.
In his Sunday remarks, the presidential candidate also said his administration would be “active, nimble, and production-oriented,” and will work to both reform its own internal structures and support production.
On Saturday, he called on the youth to vote in the June 18 presidential election, asking them not to “avenge” the next administration for the economic problems that the current government has caused.
Raisi described the youth as Iran’s “most significant resource”, saying issues facing them today, such as unemployment, marriage problems and increasing housing prices need special attention.
“Dear youth, decide your own fate! If you have complaints about the current situation, you should not take revenge on the future administration,” he said. “Dear youth, make sure you will take part in the election with a whole lot of hope for a bright future.”
Raisi said an educated, young work force could serve a driving force in the country’s economy.
Raisi also joined a program on Iran’s Radio Eqtesad, during which he elaborated on the root causes of the country’s economic problems and presented his plans on how to tackle them.
He said he saw production and inflation as “closely and directly interrelated,” and that a boom in production can not only rein in inflation but can also help solve other issues such as unemployment and high prices.
“We have no other option but to bring change. The people should feel that a change has come about. An administration official should have a correct understanding of the root causes of the problems and take urgent measures, albeit without rush.”
Raisi said besides measures to take at home, “active economic diplomacy” is needed to boost business activity within the country.
According to Raeisi, the Foreign Ministry should include an “economic diplomacy” department tasked with increasing Iran’s share of the region’s economy and find a market there for domestic products.
All of the seven Iranian presidential
candidates have been largely campaigning on a platform of improving the country’s economy, which has been hit by a set of harsh American sanctions as well as the outgoing administration’s failure to control the economic impact of the restrictive measures.
Saeed Jalili, another presidential candidate, said he plans to render sanctions as an instrument against Iran ineffective forever.
Speaking on Radio Javan, the former nuclear negotiator said sanctions have been used by Iran’s enemies as their last resort.
“The Iranian administration should have a plan to deprive foreign governments of the tool of sanctions forever,” he said. “Having sanctions lifted is one path, circumventing them is another; rendering them ineffective is yet another option.”
“We have a serious plan to render the sanctions ineffective, which will have the enemy fall to the ground. And we have to use this and dismay the enemy forever so it won’t use that instrument against us ever again,” Jalili said.
Jalili said a “resistance economy” has to be understood well as a concept.
“Resistance economy means we should not wait for foreigners. It does not mean however that we should have no relations with them,” he said.
“I believe interactions with the outside world over the past eight years were not extensive and we had relations with merely a limited number of countries,” he added.
Jalili said production has to be increased by relying on domestic capabilities. “Resistance economy means an economy not deferring to foreigners.”
He also said virtual space could be used to create jobs for the youth.
Alireza Zakani, another candidate running on principlist platform, criticized the Rouhani administration for “failing to get necessary guarantees” in the 2015 nuclear deal, saying he would work to secure Iran’s rights which he said were violated after the United States unilaterally left it.
Zakani described the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as a “faulty and deficient agreement since we failed to get enough guarantees from the other side” during the talks that led to the deal.
He also described the so-called “snapback” mechanism in the JCPOA as the sword of Damocles.
“I will seek to get back the Iranian nation’s rights under the JCPOA,” Zakani said. “I will definitely do this.”
The lawmaker also criticized the former parliament for “turning a blind to the national interests” of the country and “rushing” to approve the nuclear agreement without taking the time to carefully examine it.
The lawmaker also praised the 25-year strategic partnership agreement that Tehran and Beijing finalized a few months ago.
He said he had fully read the text of the deal, which could be “a historic opportunity” for Iran and China to broaden their cooperation in various fields, although the agreement is non-binding.
The presidential candidate thanked all those who sponsored the agreement, above all Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
Zakani underlined the need for the country to make use of “active, smart” diplomacy in pursuit of its foreign agenda.
On the subject of negotiations with Saudi Arabia, he said he was interested in such talks, which he said would be fruitful, but that did not mean his administration would “give in to their wrong policies.”
“We are seeking to defend our country’s position and we do not see anything more important than building Iran,” Zakani said.