[30 May 13] Foreign investment growth below international average in Iran - English

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Iran\'s reformist presidential candidate Mohammad-Reza Aref has stressed the need for facilitating both domestic and foreign investment in the country, vowing to slash unemployment. In his televised speech on Wednesday night, Aref said, if elected, his administration would give assurances to Iranian investors and redirect people\'s money away from brokers and gold and foreign currency exchange markets to the country\'s industries. He also pledged measures to encourage foreign investment. \"Unfortunately the rate of foreign investment growth in Iran is below the international average and we are having an unfavorable situation,\" he said. Aref criticized the \"unacceptable\" rate of unemployment, especially among the country\'s university graduates, and promised to create over one million jobs annually. He said he would try to achieve the figure by boosting tourism, which he said would provide an annual 200,000 job opportunities, besides expanding the information and communications technology industry as well as the country\'s lucrative energy sector. \"We are planning to keep the added-value of energy products at home. We should try not to sell crude oil or natural gas,\" he stated. Aref also highlighted Iran\'s unique geopolitical situation and thus the opportunity for the country to become a regional hub in various fields, such as commerce, communications and goods transit. This will improve the country\'s economy and help the country\'s national security, the presidential candidate pointed out. Aref is vying against Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, Secretary of Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei, President of the Center for Strategic Research of the Expediency Council Hassan Rohani, lawmaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili, former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, and former Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Gharazi. The president of Iran is elected for a four-year term in a national election and this year\'s election is scheduled for June 14.

Added by PTV on 31-05-2013
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