President in a press conference with domestic, int'l press:

Improving low-income people's lives gov't first concern/the only solution to Syrian problem is ballot box

نهمین نشست خبری رییس جمهور

Tehran (ISNA) – Iranian president Hassan Rouhani attended a press conference with domestic and international journalists and reporters and talked about the Islamic Republic of Iran's stances about regional and international issues.

At the beginning of the press conference, which was held on Monday, Rouhani congratulated Nowruz and the new year, saying: “the 11th government has had good achievements in the past 3.5 years, especially in year 1395 with the Supreme Leader and people's support".

Stressing that the first concern of the 11th government is improving the lives of low-income people of the society, Rouhani said: "Based on domestic and foreign figures, our people's life, with regard to politics and public and economic services, has been better than predicted".

"Earnings of the low-income strata has doubled or more during the current government’s term of office," he added.

"Our farmers, who are not among high-income strata of our society and some of them, are among low-income strata, have better conditions in the 11th government," Rouhani continued saying.

He also said: "In year 1392, the production of agricultural products was around 97 million tonnes and in year 1395, it increased 21 million tonnes to 118".

The Iranian president went on to say: "The government has paid most of its attention to health and the environment, which have close relations with each other".

"For the first time in Iran's history, all people, especially those living in the outskirts of cities, are covered by health insurance," he continued.

The president also said: "2100 hospital beds have been added to hospitals in the current government for the patients' convenience and, of course, the health minister says the ministry is trying to increase the number to 2300 beds".

He also described the government's attempts in villages, including providing natural gas for 9,000 villages, delivering fresh and healthy water to 5,200 villages, and connecting 25,000 villages to the Internet as an achievement and honor for the 11th government.

Referring to the coming presidential election, Rouhani said: "It is OK that different factions, parties and groups have their say but great care should be taken when giving numbers and figures, not telling lies to people".

"God-willing, people will hold a historic, competitive and fair election and this year, we need to try more than before for national production and employment," the president said.

"The highest treason is to provide them with incorrect figures, especially lies that cause desperation and hopelessness," he added.

He also mentioned Iran's advancements and achievements in the nuclear energy industry, adding: "I am very happy that in year 1395, 42 important projects in this field were opened and this means that we are on the path to progress and development in all advanced technologies, including the peaceful nuclear energy, especially after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ".

On cash subsidies, Rouhani said: "What we did in the 11th government, was that these cash subsidies be taken to sectors such as production and social services and we believe that people's lives must be so good that they won't need it".

He also stressed that the entrepreneurs must become more active and have high hopes about the future, adding: "We must make a hopeful atmosphere and try to attract investment".

Emphasizing that the banking system needs to be reformed, he said: "Of course, I hereby appreciate the banks for what they did in year 1395. They gave 43% more loans to people which are a very good figure".

"The 11th government has done a great job in fighting smuggling of goods, reducing the volume from $25 billion to $15 billion. Of course, the anti-smuggling headquarters has announced that the figures are even lower," the president said.

Speaking on Iran's advising presence in Syria and the latest missile attack by the United States on Syria, he said: "The issue of Syria is a very important and sensitive issue of the region. From the first sparks of the Syrian issue, which goes back to 6 years ago, Iran believed that other countries must not support the terrorists but some countries of the region and some in the West did this".

"In my first New York visit to attend the General Assembly of the United Nations, I had meetings with heads of many European countries and told them how their support of terrorism can be dangerous for themselves. In the meetings, I told them that if they continued the trend, they would witness the same insecurity in their own capital cities," he added.

"I believe that something wrong has been done here. The Islamic Republic of Iran has believed from the beginning that terrorists, who have congregated in Syria from throughout the region and out of the region and are fighting the people in the most savage way, must be confronted with. Of course the government of Syria needs reforms," Rouhani said.

He continued: "Iran has believed from the beginning that the only solution to the Syrian problem is the ballot box. Iran suggests the ballot box not just for Tehran, but rather it suggests it for the whole region. If the whole region relies on their ballot boxes like Iran does, their problems will decrease and end".

Expressing hope about reforms in Syria, he said: "For us, these reforms are necessary, however in the latest incident, firstly the Americans carried out the attack under a pretext that is neither proved, not clear.

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