EghtesadOnline: Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei favors further diplomatic engagement with the world, but has asked the country’s officials not to pin their hopes on Europeans to help resolve domestic economic woes.
“Channels of communication should be maintained … I believe that diplomatic contacts should be increased every day … I do not say that relations should be severed or things like that. With the exception of a few cases such as the US, I believe relations with both the East and the West should be strengthened and targeted diplomatic efforts should be intensified,” he said in remarks made last July and published by his website on March 4.
The Leader had made these comments during a meeting with the Cabinet, months after Washington withdrew from a nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed penalties.
Tehran and Washington have not had diplomatic ties since shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ousted the US-backed monarchical regime, according to Financial Tribune.
Ayatollah Khamenei said the 2015 agreement did not help resolve the country’s economic problems and predicted that the mechanism proposed by Europe to shield business with Iran from the US sanctions would also not remove economic hardship.
France, Germany and Britain opened a new channel for non-dollar trade with Iran in January, although diplomats say it is unlikely to allow big transactions that Tehran says it needs to keep the deal afloat.
New US sanctions have largely succeeded in persuading European companies to abandon business with Iran.
Ayatollah Khamenei said the turbulence in the market is the result of relying on the nuclear pact to boost the economy and Iran should not depend on European efforts to protect Tehran against US sanctions.
Rial's weakness has led to a reduction in purchasing power and helped boost inflation. The weak currency and galloping inflation have triggered sporadic street protests since late 2017.
“They [the Europeans] have to say how they plan to safeguard our interests through the so-called package, but you should not turn this into a major national issue. Regardless of whether the European package is presented or not, there are certain objectives inside the country that have to be realized. Take the required steps and do not tie economic improvement to something that is out of our control,” the Leader told President Hassan Rouhani and members of his administration.
He added that he is deeply skeptical of European powers “not because of their current policies, but their mischievous nature in the last few centuries”.
In recent months, Europe has reiterated support for the nuclear agreement but has also stepped up criticism of Iran’s ballistic missile program, its regional policies and human rights record in a dual-track approach.
Iran has ruled out any negotiation of its defense and regional policies and has accused the West of using human rights as a political tool to pressure other countries.