Source: Tehran Times
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that the administration will help pave the way for the realization of the people's will in the 2013 presidential election.
"The government will make efforts to prepare the ground for the participation of people of all persuasions in a vibrant election, and the great task that the government should accomplish is to pave the way for the realization of the people's will, and it will not interfere in electoral affairs," Ahmadinejad stated during a televised interview broadcast live on Iranian television on Saturday night.
"No one should make efforts to manipulate the results of the election or make decisions on behalf of the people," the president said.
Iran's 11th presidential election is scheduled to be held on June 14.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Ahmadinejad commented on the implementation of the subsidy reform plan and defended the administration's performance in regard to the plan.
Certain people launched a smear campaign against the administration in regard to the implementation of the plan and attributed the increase in foreign exchange rates in the Iranian market to the subsidy targeting, but the two issues are not related, Ahmadinejad said.
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He also stated that if the plan had been fully implemented, there would have been no problem in the foreign exchange market.
"Before the implementation of the subsidy reform plan, energy consumption in the country was consistently on the rise," he added.
"If we had not implemented the subsidy reform plan, gasoline consumption would have reached 135 million liters a day, but the figure is now 62.5 million liters, Ahmadinejad said.
Electricity consumption has also decreased, he added.
On the fact that the subsidy reform plan envisaged the elimination of the subsidies on fuel, electricity, and certain goods over the course of five years, Ahmadinejad noted, "When the plan is implemented in five phases, the predicted inflation is created and all the people wait for (a few) years and the end of the story. Under the circumstances, where our people are prepared to help reform the world, and given their cooperation in economic developments, it would have been possible to implement the subsidy reform plan in a single phase."
On the recent sharp fluctuations in Iran's forex market, he said that certain financial institutions and people who hoarded foreign currencies are to blame.
Ahmadinejad also stated, "We should not forget that we are in an economic war with the enemy and that it has used the issue of foreign currencies as a tool" to create a commotion about the country.
Commenting on the sanctions that have been imposed on the Islamic Republic, he said that the enemy had intended to "cripple" the Iranian economy, but it failed in its efforts.
Cartoon depicting Iranian economy as titanic (source: Mardomak)
Ahmadinejad also reiterated his call for the centralization of economic and financial decision-making, adding that the country's economic atmosphere should be calm.
In addition, he stated, "Economic indices show that the people's economic situation has improved compared to the past."
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