Political Adventurism Would Stifle Economic Recovery

Political adventurism would derail efforts to revive the domestic economy, a political analyst warned, in the countdown to a showdown between conservatives and a moderate-reformist alliance in the May 19 presidential vote.

“No country is known to have successfully developed its economy by adopting an adventurist foreign policy. Countries such as China and India did not begin making economic progress until they put the foreign policy at the service of their economies for development,” Tahmoures Gholami also told IRNA on Saturday. Incumbent moderate President Hassan Rouhani won an outright victory in 2013 on a promise to reform the economy, hit by years of sanctions.

Part of those sanctions, imposed over Tehran’s nuclear activities, were lifted under a landmark nuclear deal Rouhani’s government clinched in 2015 with the six major powers, namely the United State, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany. It has been in force since January 2016 and has scaled back Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

Rouhani has touted the agreement as a great achievement that could be exploited to facilitate Iran’s return to global markets by attracting foreign investment and technology.

His conservative critics and rivals in the presidential race have piled pressure on him to show the accord’s benefits and the proof of the promised economic recovery.

They also oppose Rouhani’s plans for opening up the economy to international businesses, saying it can come at the cost of domestic businesses, but he insists that foreign investment is indispensable to economic reforms. Gholami defended Rouhani’s position, noting that even a self-sufficient economy can barely grow without the active engagement of the international community.

“Without an efficient foreign policy, it would be impossible to develop the Resistance Economy. Attracting foreign investment and technology and selling domestic products and exporting them all require connection with the global financial system and cooperation with international bodies,” he said.

Resistance Economy is a concept outlined by Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to promote self-sufficiency and wean the country off oil revenues by bolstering domestic production and productivity. Ebrahim Raeisi, one of Rouhani’s main conservative contenders, had disputed this in a campaign interview with state television.

“It is wrong to wait for years for foreign investors to arrive ... We should solve our problems by relying on our domestic capabilities,” he said.

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