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EghtesadOnline: President Hassan Rouhani stressed the need to exploit the full potential of sports to help pave the way for improving Iran's global ties, developing domestic economy and countering anti-Iran propaganda.

"Sports can pave the way for closer interaction with the world and economic and tourism development," the president was quoted as saying by his official website. The president was addressing a ceremony on Saturday to honor medal-winning Iranian athletes in the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.

Rouhani called for expansion of sports tourism to counter Iranophobia propaganda waged by hostile governments.

The president stressed that sports can help build constructive interaction with the international community, bolster economy, promote tourism and help the country advance toward sustainable development, Financial Tribune reported.

"Sporting events serve several purposes, including as cultural events to help create familiarity with and tolerance toward other nations with different customs and beliefs," he said.

Rouhani also said that at the national level, such events contribute to national cohesion and security by encouraging cultural and ethnic diversity.

"Sports provide an opportunity to boost national security and unity, and promote Iranian-Islamic culture and the Resistance Economy," he said.

Resistance Economy is an economic concept put forth by the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to bolster domestic production and productivity, and lower the country's dependence on oil revenues.

Hassan Rouhani Iran sports Anti-Iran Propaganda