Foreign Ministry Set to Help Attract Investment, Tech

The Foreign Ministry attaches high importance to economic diplomacy, believing that it should be at the service of economic progress and people’s livelihood
Mohammad Javad ZarifMohammad Javad Zarif

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's top diplomat who is nominated to retain office for the next four years, said his big priority in his prospective second term is to help attract foreign investment and technology as part of efforts to advance Resistance Economy.

"In our foreign policy plan, we attach high importance to economic diplomacy, believing that the Foreign Ministry should be at the service of economic progress and people's livelihood," he told ICANA on Saturday.

Resistance Economy is a concept aimed at weaning the Iranian government off oil dependence, its main source of income for decades, by boosting productivity and exports. It was first raised by the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in 2011, amid the tightening of international sanctions by western adversaries of Iran claiming that Tehran is pursuing nukes.

The July 2015 nuclear deal, negotiated by Zarif and his counterparts from world powers, settled the lingering dispute and lifted international sanctions. The deal was expected to enable President Hassan Rouhani to stimulate foreign investment and acquire technology needed to boost non-oil export.

But time has not been so kind to Rouhani, as the uncooperative approach adopted by US President Donald Trump, who seems to be hell-bent on killing the nuclear pact, has rendered Rouhani only partly successful in completing his mission.

Rouhani was reelected in May with a stronger mandate than his first electoral victory, receiving renewed approval from the public to keep up with his policy to broaden Iran's engagement with the world.

  Mending Regional Fences

Zarif said another priority in his second term would be to mend fences with Iran's neighbors.

"We should unceasingly work toward peace, stability and expansion of regional cooperation, for we live in the most dangerous region," he said.

During his presidential campaign in 2013, Rouhani promised that his foreign policy would center on reducing tensions in relations with West Asian states, particularly neighbors.

His administration went to great lengths to heal fissures in the region deeply embroiled in conflicts, particularly the Syria crisis that has created serious differences among regional governments.

But the spell of bad luck disrupted his efforts to bridge the regional divide. To understand this challenge, one only needs to look at the coming to power of Saudi King Salman early 2015, who abandoned the traditionally conservative Saudi foreign policy and took an aggressive position against Iran.

Shortly afterwards, Salman launched aggression against Yemen to create another bone of contention in the region.

In early 2016, Riyadh used as a pretext the attacks on its diplomatic missions by Iranian protestors to cut relations with Tehran. Iranians were angered by the Saudi execution of eminent cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr without due process. Since then, Riyadh has shut the door to diplomatic efforts at resolving mistrust between the two governments.


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