There are other figures that indicate that the job crisis could actually be a lot worse. Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli has said the number of jobless Iranians is as high as 3.5 million. He predicts that this figure will balloon, as the country has been forecast an annual economic growth of only between 1.5% and 3% — far short of Rouhani’s target of 5% growth this year.
“With that sort of growth, unemployment and inflation will double in the short term. We need foreign investment,” Rahmani Fazli told lawmakers on June 7. Meanwhile, the parliament’s research center has put the number of unemployed, underemployed and those who have given up their search after failing to find employment at a staggering 6.5 million.
The Rouhani administration blames the policies of the previous government for the difficult economic situation it has faced since taking office in 2013. It claims that it has managed to reverse the negative economic growth in past years and reduce the previously high inflation rate to some 10%. The administration also says that job creation tops its agenda and that it sticks to the principles of the “resistance economy” as a way out of the current economic crisis.
Rouhani sniped back on May 31, saying, “Unfortunately, job creation was zero in past years before the [current] government. But it has now turned positive and we are seeking to create 1 million jobs annually.” As the administration pursues its plan to create new jobs, criticism over its handling of the economy in general and unemployment in particular has mounted — even following the removal of sanctions back in January.