Hardline rivals challenged President Hassan Rouhani in a pre-election debate on Friday over the lack of economic revival since Iran's nuclear deal with big powers, but he said oil exports had resurged and the economy only needed more time to recover.
In the last election debate carried live on national TV, Hassan Rouhani defended his government's performance in opening the country to the world through the uplifting of sanctions after hard_won nuclear agreement, reuters reported today.
"Do not lie to people. People will have to choose between slogans and action," Rouhani said, Facing with criticism that few Iranians had enjoyed any tangible benefits from the 2015 deal under which Iran curbed its disputed nuclear activity in exchange for relief from global sanctions.
"What has changed since the deal? What has changed in the day to day lives of our people?" said conservative candidate Ebrahim Raisi. Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, ALSO accused Rouhani of failing to tackle unemployment estimated at 12-20 percent.
In response, Rouhani said Iran's reconnection with the global financial system after most sanctions were lifted had already borne fruit in renewed oil exports and was sure to yield jobs and investment boosting the economy in coming years.
"All the nuclear-related sanctions have been lifted. Today, we export 2 million barrels oil per day. Without the deal it would be reduced to 200,000 bpd," said Rouhani.
Rouhani hit back the accusations by considering the role of sanctions in improving the level of investment. “We want to allocate $15 billion for investments ... and $3-5 billion for supporting the poor and needy,” he said, adding handouts would be focused on rural and deprived areas – places where conservatives have tended to perform more strongly.
Iran’s overall economic outlook has improved since the nuclear accord. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts between 4 and 5.5 percent growth in 2016, well up from the 1.3 percent it forecast before the deal was clinched.
According to statistics, Iran's balance of trade (BoT) turned positive with its exports tallying USD 42.415 billion, compared with USD 41.499 billion worth of imports, IRNA reported.