Constructive Engagement With World a Popular Demand

Constructive Engagement With World a Popular DemandConstructive Engagement With World a Popular Demand

The majority of Iranians favor close economic links with the international community, a government policy vehemently opposed by conservatives who view it as a big welcome to the West's corrupting influence, a former president said Monday.

"The demand of the majority of the population is to establish a constructive and honorable relationship and interaction with other countries," Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani told a conference on exports in Tehran.

"People have showed, especially by their high turnout in recent elections, that they have found the right path and are eager to see Iran seriously engage in continued reciprocal relations with the outside world based on reciprocal respect and trust," he was quoted as saying by IRNA.    

In the February polls for the Assembly of Experts, an influential clerical body in charge of selecting and removing the leader of the Islamic Revolution and monitoring his performance, Rafsanjani was the top vote-getter in the Tehran constituency.

The moderate cleric dismissed the view associating the Resistance Economy with austerity and hardship, saying such an economic plan combines self-development and outward-orientation, competitive approach and accountability for both the domestic production and deals with foreigners to be able to  access their knowhow and technology.

 Opening the Gateway

Resistance Economy is a set of policies outlined by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei aimed at boosting self-reliance, improving productivity and reducing dependence on oil export revenues.

"We ought to open national gateways to facilitate expansion of exports and outdo our rivals in production," the influential chairman of the Expediency Council said.

"Iran abounds in natural resources, including energy reserves, as well as manpower, ports and sea borders, which are among key requirements for the promotion of exports and achieve decent economic growth rates."

The recent relief from international sanctions under the 2015 nuclear deal with major powers has provided a rare opportunity for the champion of the accord, President Hassan Rouhani, to open the lucrative, untapped domestic market to foreign investment and technology.

Rouhani's push for economic reforms, however, has faced opposition from rival conservatives and political opponents who are claim hostile powers could exploit the opening to make inroads into the country and push their covert agenda.