President outlines plans for Iran 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.

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 both young and experienced figures, whose main characteristics 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 any 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 resistance economy is a concept proposed by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in 2016 to leverage domestic capabilities in order to overcome gaps resulting from US policies to restrict business with Iran and insulate the economy from sanctions or hostile foreign activity.

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