Iran Seeks $150 Billion to Target 8 Percent Annual Growth

  • Iran needs money to reduce 24 percent youth unemployment
  • Rouhani says Iran can help fight 'terrorists' in Mideast

Iran needs $150 billion of investment to reach 8 percent growth a year and lower youth unemployment, President Hassan Rouhani said in an address to Iranian-Americans in New York on Saturday.

Last year, Iran created 700,000 new jobs, short of the 800,000 needed for new entrants to the job market, said Rouhani, who is in New York to address the United Nations General Assembly. He was appealing to the Iranian diaspora for greater involvement in the country.

Iran and six world powers reached an historic agreement on July 14 in Vienna to curb Iranian nuclear ambitions in exchange for the easing of international sanctions. The accord survived a 60-day review by the U.S. Congress and is now being examined by the Iranian parliament.

In another part of his speech, Rouhani said Iran offered stability in a region that had witnessed wars, revolutions and natural disaster.

“In the past we used to export oil; now we export security,” Rouhani said. “Many countries in the region look to Iran’s help to defeat terrorists.”

Separately, the Iranian president told NPR News that Iran is willing to talk to the U.S. about a strategy to resolve the Syrian civil war and defeat militants operating in that country. 

“Any solution that can lead to peace, stability and security -- we will pursue that solution,” Rouhani said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

Iran’s economy is recovering from tough economic sanctions imposed by the U.S., the European Union and the UN over concerns that the Islamic Republic was pursuing nuclear weapons.

The economy grew 3 percent in 2014 after two years of contraction, while the currency has stabilized and inflation slowed to about 15 percent from 40 percent. However, youth unemployment still hovers around 24 percent, and the World Bank says Iran needs to create 8.5 million new jobs over the next two years.

Iran expects about $29 billion of funds to be unfrozen and repatriated to its central bank by January 2016 at the latest as economic sanctions are eased after July’s nuclear deal, according to Gholamali Kamyab, vice governor for foreign exchange affairs at the bank.

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