By Maysam Bizær, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.
When he took office in August 2013, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani faced an ailing economy, high unemployment and a nuclear standoff with the West.
The Rouhani administration has managed to resolve the nuclear issue, clinching a deal with six world powers in July 2015. It had hoped that the removal of economic sanctions under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action would spur investment that would help rebuild the economy and create jobs. But with only a year left of his term, Rouhani continues to face the unresolved challenges of an economy in recession and high unemployment.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on June 5 said both of these issues must be among the priorities of the new parliament, urging the legislative and executive branches to work hard to address them. “The issue of the economy is the urgent priority under the country’s current circumstances. … The economic problems, particularly stagnation and unemployment, must be resolved and mere words are of no help,” Khamenei stressed.
The Statistical Center of Iran put the number of Iranians out of work at some 2.5 million in the past Iranian calendar year 1394 (ending March 20, 2016). That figure amounts to 11% of the workforce, and shows a 0.4% increase compared with the previous Iranian year. The data also shows that the unemployment rate that year was 9.3% and 19.4% for men and women, respectively.