DUBAI - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called for curbs on the state's involvement in business and an end to Tehran's international isolation on Sunday to help rescue an economy hurt by sanctions, corruption and mismanagement.
His appeal in a speech to 1,500 economists appeared to be critical of hardliners who oppose his efforts to deliver Iran from years of erratic economic management by the previous administration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"Our economy will not prosper as long as it is monopolized (by the government). The economy must be rid of monopoly and see competition," he said.
"It must be freed of insider speculation, be transparent, all people must be aware of the statistics. If we can bring transparency to our economy, we can fight corruption."
He added: "Our political life has shown we can't have sustainable growth while we are isolated."
Rouhani, a pragmatist elected in 2013 on pledges to resolve a nuclear standoff with world powers and end crippling sanctions, said he would like some economic reforms to be passed by referendum as opposed to the parliament, currently dominated by conservatives.