Top Cleric Defends Rouhani Gov't

Top Cleric Defends Rouhani Gov'tTop Cleric Defends Rouhani Gov't

The chairman of Expediency Council defended President Hassan Rouhani, expressing confidence in his government's ability to jumpstart the domestic economy.

"He [Rouhani] and his Cabinet are capable of developing the country … But they have faced an obstructive opposition," Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani also said.

He was speaking in an interview with his own official website on Sunday.

By the opposition, the reformist-leaning cleric was apparently referring to Rouhani's fierce conservative opponents who have been seeking to block his socioeconomic reform plans, particularly after the historic nuclear deal with major powers took effect.

"My views are similar to Rouhani's. We had worked side by side for years before we decided" to engage with the West for settling a nuclear dispute that had dragged on for 12 years, said Rafsanjani, who has formerly served as president himself.

The dispute was settled after two years of negotiations that led to the historic accord on July 14, 2015.

It became effective six months later to ease international sanctions against Tehran in return for placing curbs on its nuclear program.

"It was predicted that if [negotiations] did not get anywhere, a war would follow," Rafsanjani said.

Rouhani is struggling to make most of the situation in the absence of sanctions to revive the hobbled economy by attracting foreign investment and technology.

The conservative camp is dead set against economic engagement with western states, which they suspect of long seeking an opportunity to carry out their subversive plots.

"With the current smear campaign in the country and the meaningless psychological warfare [against the government], the problems of attracting foreign investment and technology will remain," Rafsanjani cautioned.