In an open letter, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has endorsed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s “resistance economy” plan. The 24-point plan was presented yesterday on Khamenei’s website.
The term “resistance economy” was originally announced in the summer of 2010. It is designed to make Iran less vulnerable to international sanctions by relying less on crude-oil exports by increasing domestic production and knowledge-based exports. The plan was developed with the advisement of the Expediency Council, which is headed by Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Rouhani wrote that the various institutions under the administration are now “bound to clear actions” and that they would work with the other branches of government to carry out these economic policies.
In the introductory paragraphs of the plan, Khamenei described the “resistance economy” as a path that can “overcome all of the economic problems.” He also described the international sanctions against Iran as a “full-scale economic war.”
Inside Iran there appears to be an ideological divide over whether, in order to improve the economy, there should be a focus on lifting international sanctions through better relations with Western countries and a comprehensive nuclear deal or, as Khamenei and others have emphasized, the focus should be on Iran’s own domestic capabilities.
One of the Rouhani administration’s chief priorities has been to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany in order to have the international sanctions lifted. He has spent considerable political capital pursuing this goal.
While all officials realize the importance of decreasing the pressure of sanctions, some would prefer a policy that gives priority to domestic economic strategies.
Yesterday, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Mohammad Ali Jaffari, said that either the sanctions will be lifted, or “The officials of the country must give up hope in outside [countries] and focus on domestic capabilities.” He explained his silence on the current state of negotiations as a “lump” in his throat.
While Khamenei has given his support to the Iranian negotiators, he too stresses that Iran should focus more on domestic capabilities.
On Monday, talking about the importance of supporting the administration in its efforts, Khamenei added, “But we also insist that the officials also rely on domestic forces. We also want the officials to trust the people, to trust the domestic forces.” He added that if government officials are able to tap this “endless domestic source,” “All closed doors will be opened. This is the movement that should be taken; this is the action that should be taken.”