TEHRAN, March 5 (Mehr News Agency) - Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Monday that the Guardian Council can reject laws which run contrary to the 20-Year Outlook Plan.
"According to the Article 44 privatization plan, the Guardian Council can prevent laws which run contrary to the 20-Year Outlook Plan from being approved," Rafsanjani told reporters at a press conference.
In the Iranian legislative system, every parliamentary bill must be approved by the watchdog Guardian Council to become a law and if a problem arises between the two bodies, the Expediency Council arbitrates to resolve the issue.
The Guardian Council is tasked with ensuring that proposed bills are in line with the sharia (Islamic law) and the Constitution.
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei issued a decree in early July to privatize state industries by amending Article 44 of the Constitution, which had banned private ownership of state institutions.
Rafsanjani called the Article 44 plan one of the most important economic plans, saying it would facilitate increased involvement of the private sector in economic affairs.
He expressed regret that the heads of the three branches of government have not taken the necessary measures to implement the Outlook Plan and the privatization initiative.
The parliament, the administration, and the Judiciary should harmoniously implement these major plans, he added.
Yet, the administration of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has made some diversions from the Outlook Plan, he pointed out.
"There have been some specific cases. For instance, according to major policies, the country should reduce its reliance on oil revenues by 10 percent per year, but this has not been realized."
He also stated that the national budget bill for the next Iranian calendar year (starts March 21) does not pay sufficient attention to the Outlook Plan and the privatization initiative.
"The budget amendments that were presented to the Majlis clearly ran contrary to the Outlook plan," he noted.
Over-reliance on oil revenues is one of the noticeable problems of the budget plan, the former president said.
Ahmadinejad presented the national budget bill to the Majlis on January 21. The president had asked the Majlis to approve a national budget of 2,290 trillion rials (about $248 billion), which is a 19.6 percent rise compared to the current year's budget, which stands at 1,910 trillion rials.
The parliament on Sunday approved the outline of the budget for the next year.
"We should make efforts to activate the country's private sector as soon as possible," Rafsanjani said.
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