Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani announced Wednesday his plan to extend universal health insurance to all Iranians in a new program that the president himself referred to as RouhaniCare on Twitter. The Western-educated president, tweeted that his plan should cover an additional 5 million people.
Gov will extend medical insurance to all Iranians. First step will be to cover 5mn uninsured Iranians by the social safety net #RouhaniCare
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) February 5, 2014
Rouhani publicly apologized on state TV for troubles with the distribution of food rations to the poor, a rare expression of regret by an Iranian leader, the AP reported. The apology came after Rouhani’s administration extended direct food rations to the poor from 3 million to 17 million people, or nearly one-quarter of Iran’s total population. Lines for dwindling rations of eggs, cooking oil, chicken, rice and cheese have stretched for blocks in some cities with a wait time of more than three hours. Local media reported three Iranians died of exposure while waiting for rations in freezing temperatures.
On television, Rouhani also defended talks with U.S. and European leaders over Iran’s nuclear program in Geneva. The talks have been criticized by conservatives in Iran.
Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this post, we incorrectly stated that President Rouhani had “dubbed” his insurance plan “RouhaniCare,” however there were other sources which used the term prior to Rouhani’s tweet.