SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on President Ebrahim Raisi to “repair” the public’s damaged trust in government, during a meeting on Saturday with his newly formed cabinet.
“It’s a great asset for a government to be able to attract the people’s trust, which has unfortunately been slightly damaged. You must repair this,” Khamenei said, quoted by his official website, according to AFP.
Iranian parliament approved on Wednesday one-by-one 18 out 19 candidates put forward by Raisi for the ministerial posts.
In Iran where ultimate power rests with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Raisi inherits a difficult socioeconomic situation.
Iran has been strangled financially by sanctions reimposed by Washington after then U.S. president Donald Trump pulled out of a multilateral nuclear deal in 2018.
Its already severe economic crisis has been amplified by the coronavirus pandemic.
Iran is the country in the Middle East worst hit by the virus and is currently grappling with a fifth wave of infections – the strongest yet – with daily deaths and cases hitting record highs several times this month.
Fewer than 6.5 million of Iran’s 83 million people have received a second vaccine dose, according to official figures.
Choked by U.S. sanctions that have made it difficult to transfer money abroad, Iran says it has struggled to import vaccines.
Raisi said on Thursday he would work to improve the country’s economy and its coronavirus response.
“The country’s situation today does not befit the great nation of Iran and it must certainly change,” Raisi said in a speech broadcast live on television.
The Islamic republic is “seriously lagging behind” in certain areas, Raisi said, adding that his government’s priorities would be to curb a surge in coronavirus infections as well as to control inflation and “improve people’s livelihoods”.