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Iranians expect new president to address economic woes, inspire youth

Iranians expect their new president to address the economic issues weighing down the country and bring hope to younger generations as they head to the polls on June 28.

The death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash on May 19 is forcing the country to elect a new leader. At least 80 candidates, including four women, mostly conservatives, have applied to vie in the presidential election.

Among notable candidates are former parliament speaker Ali Larijani, former Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, and former Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri.

While the Guardian Council, a body of 12 jurists, continues vetting for the final candidates, interest in the presidential election appears low.

Anadolu spoke with Iranian citizens about the elections and their expectations from the new president at some of Tehran's busiest areas, including Enghelab Square, Vali Asr, Jomhuri, and Palestine Streets. Most pointed out economic difficulties and unemployment as key issues.

"Give us hope"

Zeynab Pakzadeh, a student, said the country's human resources are not being utilized and that the situation for the youth is dire.

She added that many younger people aspire to move to other countries. "This is very bad for the youth. Give us hope to stay here and build our future in our homeland, not in another country."

Civil engineer Mustafa Kasimlu expects the new president to improve the country’s economic infrastructure, considering its human resources and potential.

He underlined that Iran is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of oil and natural gas reserves. "Despite that, there are regions in the country lying in absolute deprivation," he said.

Tackle unemployment

Isa Muzafferi, a businessman who claimed to have gone bankrupt due to economic woes, said: "My expectation from our future president is to be a servant of the people, to curb inflation, find solutions to unemployment, and act according to laws and duties without forgetting God."

Shopkeeper Ali Haydari stressed the need to solve economic and security problems. "We expect the president to fix the economy and find solutions to unemployment.”

“Security is also important. For instance, there is no security in the lower parts of the city, but our main problem is the economy. We want the economy to improve,” he added.

A young woman who wished to remain anonymous also thought the country's biggest problems were inflation and unemployment. "Young people long for many things. They have neither income, capital, nor hope for life," she said.

Semira Shahmohammadi, a school teacher, said: "We expect our new president to make more efforts to solve the country's problems, focus on development, and youth unemployment.”

“Hopefully, the people will have a good future and prosperity," said Shahmohammadi.

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