Number 3157 - Tue, Jun 24, 2008 - Tir 04 1387- Jamadi Al-Thani 20 1429

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Published by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA)

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Gov’t Set to Change Economic Course
Compiled by Ghanbar Naderi
President Ahmadinejad says wastage of national, human and management resources is the main challenge facing the nation.
At a joint meeting of the Cabinet and the parliament, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad outlined his government’s new economic plan designed to improve production, curb inflation and liquidity growth, stabilize employment, attract more foreign direct investments, and institutionalize economic justice in line with the targets laid down in the Fourth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2005-2010) and Vision 2025.
In the meeting late Saturday, in which Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani was also present, the secretary of a working group provided details about the comprehensive plan.
Ahmadinejad said the meeting could be a new start for resourceful and effective collaboration between the executive and legislative bodies, adding that the two sides should regularly exchange views on politics, culture, society and, of course, the economy.
In his words, despite major achievements in all spheres since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, there is still the feeling in society and the elite that the country and people have not yet made full use of the potentials, and that there is still room for further development and growth.
“Officials, the people and political groups and factions agree that there are still exceptional problems that need to be resolved rapidly and jointly.
The executive body, which is responsible for drawing up and implementing national policies and plans, and managing the economy, is duty-bound to identify and highlight these exceptional problems. These problems had also been highlighted by past administrations and parliaments.
Now is the time for proposing effective solutions for all of them,“ he noted.
Ahmadinejad referred to the wastage of national and human resources as the main challenge facing the nation, arguing that there has also been wastage of management and planning resources that need to be dealt with.
There is now a huge gap between the rich and the poor and the government is uneasy about the trend.
This is while one of the lofty principles of the Islamic Revolution has been and still is institutionalization of justice and elimination of poverty and inequality, he noted.

Structural Problems
According to ISNA, Ahmadinejad reiterated that his government has identified a number of structural problems within the national economy and that the government has devised comprehensive policies and plans to resolve them.
To this end, he said, the government will need all the help it can get from the new parliament, experts, academic centers and affiliated organizations.
Iran has a transition economy where a continuing strong labor force growth unmatched by commensurate real economic growth is driving up unemployment to a level considerably higher than official estimates.
For the same reason, experts say that annual economic growth above five percent would be needed to keep pace with the 900,000 new entrants to the job market each year.
The government is also attempting to diversify its revenues away from petrodollars by investing in other areas of the economy, including, auto manufacturing, aerospace industries, consumer goods and electronics, petrochemicals and nuclear technology to stimulate the economy.
To this end, the government continues its drive toward privatization and economic liberalization as per Article 44 of the Constitution in line with a decree by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei ordering a major privatization of industries such as banking, mining, industrial, transport et al.
As a consequence, the role of the private sector has been on the increase.

Iraqi MPs Demand MKO Expulsion
Iraqi lawmakers are increasingly turning against the presence of the terrorist anti-Iran group Mujahideen Khalq Organization (MKO) in their country, calling for the group’s expulsion.
A majority of Iraqi members of parliament believe the presence of the MKO base in Iraq contradicts the country’s constitution, Alalam reported from Baghdad on Sunday.
It said Iraqi MPs are unanimously opposed to the presence of MKO and criticize the US for supporting the policies of the terrorist group.
Iraqi lawmakers are calling for the implementation of the country’s Constitution with regard to the anti-Iran terrorist group, it said.
Abdul Hadi Zibari, a member of Iraqi Kurdistan Coalition Party, told Alalam: “It is clearly stipulated in the Iraqi Constitution that the country should not give shelter to any armed group, particularly the MKO which is on the terrorist list of the West and much of the international community.“
He urged the Iraqi government to soon expel the terrorist group.
In related news, Abbas Al-Bayati, a member of United Iraqi Alliance, also denounced the presence of the banned group in his country.
“The activities of the terrorist MKO in Iraq are constitutionally banned and their presence is illegal,“ he said.
He stressed that the Iraqi Constitution is transparent enough in this regard and stipulates that Iraqi soil should not be used for terrorist activities that disrupt peace and security in the region.
Al-Bayati expressed surprise over the US double standards toward the anti-Iran group.
“The US regards the MKO as a terrorist group in its own territory while it backs and defends anti-Iran terrorists in Iraq,“ he said.
Since the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the MKO has launched numerous attacks in the Islamic Republic, resulting in the death of many civilians.
The Iraqi government last week banned any dealing with the terrorist group, which was mainly supported by the executed Iraqi dictator Saddam to quell popular Shiite and Kurdish uprisings after the first Persian Gulf War in 1991.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s Cabinet has accused the MKO of interfering in Iraq’s internal affairs and supporting anti-government activities.
After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US Army sent the group’s members to a camp northeast of Baghdad, under the protection of foreign occupation troops.

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