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Rouhani Warms Up to Khamenei, Reassuring Commitment to ‘Resistive Economy’ - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London- Two days after Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei launched a wave of harsh criticisms against the country’s economic policy, President Hassan Rouhani rushed to deny any shortcoming on enforcing the nationally demanded “resistive economy.”

The spat intensified a few days before Rouhani put forth his bid for another term in office.

Rouhani vowed to set up ministerial council meetings to review recommendations given by Khamenei, saying that the first cabinet session in the Persian new year would focus on advancing local growth and production and increasing employment opportunities.

Iran media broadcasted a letter directed from Rouhani to the Supreme Leader welcoming his interest in national economic policy. Khamenei has been advocating “resistance economy,” an isolationist concept introduced in 2010 in which Iran is self-sustainable should it encounter economic sanctions.

“Resistance economy” is a way to circumvent sanctions against a country or region experiencing sanctions. This can involve increasing resilience by substituting local inputs for imported inputs, the smuggling of goods and an increase in barter trade.

Rouhani, in his published statement, reassured the Supreme Leader that economic weaknesses are well addressed, revisited figures showing that the government under his (Rouhani) leadership has managed to bolster internal growth, with non-oil exports outweighing non-oil imports. Rouhani repeatedly confirmed his commitment to resistance economy.

“The economy is one of Iran’s priorities in the new year,” Khamenei said during his annual speech in the Iranian city of Mashhad.

“I will not interfere in the elections,” he said, stressing that he does not take sides with any of the candidates.

In the past month, Khamenei has on three occasions sharply criticized the government’s economic policy. However, his tone was lighter than in previous times; trying to keep those criticisms from influencing the upcoming presidential election.

“Domestic production and youth employment headline the agenda of Iranian officials, which restores trust between public services and all economic activists,” said Rouhani in his letter.