Raeisi outlines plans as parliament debates cabinet choices

President Ebrahim Raeisi says he has chosen a cabinet to improve Iran's economy and fight corruption as parliament begins debating whether to approve his proposed ministers.

Iran (IMNA) - President Raeisi attended an open session of the parliament on Saturday morning along with his deputy Mohammad Mokhber and his chief of staff Gholam Hossein Esmaeili.

The president started with an outline of his plans for the next cabinet, saying they have been devised to ensure justice and progress in Iran.

"We know that the time for service is short and the pains and problems of the people are numerous," Raeisi said.

He pointed to efforts aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic as a top priority, saying boosting the country’s economy and improving the livelihood of the people are also high on his agenda.

President Raeisi said his proposed list of ministers constitutes young and experienced figures, whose main characteristic is commitment to working diligently and fighting corruption.

The president defended the cabinet make-up, saying he had tried to choose the most qualified in various fields.

"The line-up is not based on a specific organization or political party," he said. "Any causal, relative and family relationship or pressure from an individual, current or party has absolutely had no role in the nomination and selection of ministers."

Raeisi has said his plan is to form a "popular government". Its roadmap for transforming Iran, he said on Saturday, is to push for the "excellence of the Islamic and Iranian culture", develop a "resistance economy", improve the livelihood of the people especially low-income groups, develop international relations based on national interests, and promote Iran's inspirational role in the Islamic world.

The president noted that short- and mid-term plans have been formulated to tackle the country’s problems.

"You are well aware of the situation," he told the parliament. "Solving the problems of inflation above 44% declared by the Statistical Center or more than 55% of the Central Bank, a sharp devaluation of the national currency, a significant budget deficit, severe power shortages and hardships, high liquidity growth, high government debt and issues is possible, but it requires a plan. It also needs an efficient force that can be transformative in any part of the country."

Raeisi noted that he was not influenced by any special group or faction in order to select his ministers.

Of course, President Raeisi said, there were many proposals by different groups regarding introduction of candidates for ministerial posts.

“In selecting ministers, I was not influenced by any current or special group. Of course, many proposals were sent to the government by different groups in introducing persons,” he said while speaking in favor of his proposed ministers in the parliament.

President Raeisi described Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, his pick for foreign minister, as a person with sound knowledge and expertise in his major.

“Balanced foreign policy, development of neighborly relations, prioritization of economy in foreign interactions and activation of economic diplomacy will be high on the Foreign Ministry’s agenda,” he said.

Raeisi went on to defend his choice for Iranian defense minister, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, saying he is a prominent figure among members of Iran’s Armed forces and very well-informed of military affairs.

Afterwards, Iranian legislators start debating the ministerial picks in an alphabetical order. One supporter and one opponent of each nominee gave a speech.

Speaking during the open parliamentary session to review the qualification of the proposed ministers, lawmaker Karim Hosseini said Iran is definitely at a critical juncture, and a high vote for President Raeisi’s cabinet signifies the Islamic Republic’s power, and the authority of the establishment.

“The new administration is expected to address the concerns of the nation, especially on issues that have been expressed in recent years by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah (Seyyed Ali Khamenei) and the country’s sympathizers,” he said.

Hosseini pointed to economic stability, resolution of livelihood problems, strengthening business environment, promotion of justice in the society, elimination of discrimination, securing legal freedoms, fight against corruption, and further attention to cultural issues as major concerns of Iranians in recent years.

“Today, we need an immediate plan to control corona(virus pandemic) and stabilize prices, regulate the market and people's livelihoods, and employment, which the President has also emphasized,” he noted.

Alireza Salimi, another Iranian MP, noted that President Raeisi’s cabinet is younger than the previous administration led by former Preident Hassan Rouhani.

“In using the youth, there was fear in the country. Fortunately, President Raisi's cabinet is younger than the previous administration. A special function has been used in selecting the cabinet, and that is to consult with specialized working groups, which is an innovative and interesting thing,” he said.

On August 13, Raeisi submitted the list of his proposed ministers to the parliament to receive a vote of confidence.

The president will have up to three months to name a replacement in case any of the proposed ministers fails to win the vote.

The formal sessions on the vote of confidence for the ministerial picks will reportedly continue for four days.


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