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Iranian presidential candidate promises free healthcare


08:34, June 03, 2013

TEHRAN, June 2 (Xinhua) -- The Iranian principlist presidential candidate Ali-Akbar Velayati vowed to provide free healthcare services if he wins the upcoming presidential election, Press TV reported on Sunday.

Initially, people would pay for small percentage of their healthcare expenses, said Velayati, adding that later healthcare services would be provided completely free of charge.

Velayati's campaign remarks come as the rising medical and health expenses in the Islamic republic have gone far beyond common people's economic capacity.

In the meantime, lax social security services do not compensate for significant percentage of the medical costs; and, in some cases, no coverage for those costs is available.

Difficult though the implementation of the ambitious project may seem, Velayati has pledged to start free healthcare coverage form Iran's rural areas and to extend it to the urban areas in the following stages.

The Islamic republic is lagging behind its social welfare projects under the substantive international sanctions over its controversial nuclear program. Also, according to official figures, the inflation rate in the country is over 30 percent and unemployment rate has hit 14 percent.

Eight Iranian eligible candidates for presidential election, slated for June 14, are unanimously critical of the country's current economic situation and have promised to take steps to alleviate people's suffrage.

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