Rouhani: JCPOA Helps Build Robust Economy

Rouhani: JCPOA Helps Build Robust EconomyRouhani: JCPOA Helps Build Robust Economy

President Hassan Rouhani said the landmark nuclear deal with major powers has helped boost key aspects of Resistance Economy.

He was referring to a set of principles outlined by the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to promote domestic production and productivity, and wean the country off oil revenues.

"We will tread the path of Resistance Economy whether or not the JCPOA yields the desired results. This is what we also stressed before the JCPOA conclusion," he said in an interview with state TV on Tuesday.

JCPOA stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal title of the historic pact.

It was negotiated with the six major powers (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) on July 14, 2015, and went into effect six months later to roll back Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

"If all aspects of Resistance Economy are addressed, it could bring significant progress. The action plan facilitates the implementation of Resistance Economy," the president said.

He highlighted a knowledge-based economy and non-oil exports as two of the main components of Resistance Economy, which builds on "self-development" and "outward-orientation."

Rouhani said a boost in non-oil exports hinges on the reestablishment of global banking links, which is becoming possible after banking sanctions against the country were eased under the nuclear pact.

"The government has undertaken a huge task related to knowledge-based companies. Currently, there are 2,500 active knowledge-based firms that have been granted loans and other facilities. They have created a total of 40,000 direct jobs over the past two years."

"JCPOA facilitates oil and gas exports and other elements of Resistance Economy and contributes to the knowledge-based economy by attracting modern technology," he said.

***Regaining Oil Market Share

Since the pact went into force, Iran has been trying to recoup oil market share it lost after the introduction of international sanctions on its oil sector in 2012.

It has to date reached at least 80% of its pre-sanctions oil output, Iranian officials have said.

Rouhani sought to support that claim with facts and figures by saying, "Over the past few months, our output of oil and gas condensates has increased from 3,450,000 to 4,154,000 barrels a day."

Non-nuclear US sanctions, imposed over alleged terrorism sponsorship, human rights abuses and missile activities have remained in place.

They have proved frustrating to Rouhani who hoped to inject swift vitality in Iran's moribund economy in the wake of sanctions relief by reconnecting it to the global economic community.

US sanctions include a ban on transactions with Iran in dollars being processed through the US financial system. This has left foreign bankers and investors reluctant to interact with Iranians.

Rouhani renewed criticism of the US failure to keep its promises regarding sanctions relief, saying although the country has drawn $3 billion in overseas investment so far, it could have achieved much more if it were not for the US lack of commitment to the "letter and spirit" of the nuclear deal.

"Had the Americans demonstrated goodwill to thoroughly implement the action plan and prevented anti-deal attempts, we could have trusted them and agreed to engage in negotiations on non-nuclear issues as well," he said.

The Leader has made clear that negotiations with the West were and will remain confined to the nuclear issue, citing the untrustworthy nature of the United States.

"Our experience on the action plan substantiated the pointlessness of negotiations with the Americans, their non-adherence to their commitments and the need to stick to a distrustful view of US promises," the Leader said earlier this week.

US Republican lawmakers, who control the House of Representatives and Senate and unanimously opposed the JCPOA, have introduced frequent anti-Iran measures to deliberately interfere with the JCPOA implementation.

The House passed three measures last month, one to impose new sanctions on Iran over alleged terrorism support or human rights violations, another to bar the US purchase of Iran's heavy water supplies and the third to block the Islamic Republic's access to the US financial system.

Also among the hostile measures were new amendments to the US visa law passed by Congress late last year, preventing visa-free travel to the United States for people who have visited Iran or hold Iranian nationality.

The US Supreme Court ruled in April that $2 billion of Iran's frozen assets in international banks be turned over to the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks allegedly linked to the Islamic Republic, including the 1983 truck bomb attack on a US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, which killed 241 American soldiers.

Iran denies any involvement and has vowed to legally challenge the US attempt to usurp Iranian assets.

Rouhani said his government is focusing on promoting transparency regarding the performance of state and non-state institutions, as well as eliminating corruption, rent-seeking and smuggling.

"Over the past year, the value of smuggled contraband into the country has been reduced from $25 billion to $10 billion," he added.