World Bulletin / News Desk
Hardline Iranian presidential hopeful Ebrahim Raisi condemned President Hassan Rouhani's economic management Saturday, speaking at an election campaign rally in a packed Tehran stadium.
"Today, 30 percent of our young people are out of jobs and unemployment is over 12 percent," Raisi said.
"Does this situation have to continue? Do we have to wait for foreigners to fix our problems?"
His supporters chanted "Raisi, we love you!" at his first major campaign rally ahead of a May 19 presidential election in which he is hoping to unseat moderate incumbent Rouhani.
"We are facing an unacceptable situation because of weak management," Raisi said.
"We can't fix our country's problems with words. We can fix our problems with firm and revolutionary management."
Raisi, a veteran judge, and Tehran's conservative mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf are the two main conservative candidates challenging reformists Rouhani and First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri.
"He's the most competent candidate because he is a believer, he is healthy, committed, revolutionary and thinks of the people," Seraj, a 50-year-old retiree, told AFP of Raisi.
"The priority is the economy, reinforcing national production and solving unemployment," he said, accusing Rouhani's government of being "too passive and made up of old men".
"But we thank Mr Rouhani because in his four years as president he has exposed the true face of the United States and the fact that we cannot trust it," he added.
Conservatives accuse Rouhani, who in 2015 signed a deal with world powers over Iran's nuclear programme, of being duped by the west, particularly the United States.
They argue that by retaining some sanctions, the US blocked Iran from fully normalising its economic relations with the outside world.
Raisi said he would aim to build a million homes and create a million jobs per year.
His supporters cheered loudly when he accused Rouhani's government of slowing down projects to build social housing.
Raisi said he would triple direct aid payments to the poor, currently set at $15 (14 euros) per person per month.
That would affect up to 30 million people in a country of 80 million.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Nisan 2017, 23:43