EghtesadOnline: President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that achieving growth and progress requires forging links with the world while making efforts to make the economy more self-reliant.
"We may be able to survive without interacting and having relations with the world, but what about making progress? Growth and progress are not possible without having relations and interacting with the world. We cannot make progress when exports and banking transactions are blocked," he told a ceremony held at the University of Tehran to mark the start of the new academic year, President.ir reported.
He said the question being asked since the 1979 Islamic Revolution is whether the country should choose the path of "constant confrontation" or "constructive engagement" with the world.
Need for Consensus
Some people believe that issues can only be resolved by flexing muscles and defeating the enemies, while others maintain that many of the problems can be solved through dialogue, the president said, adding that a consensus should be reached in this regard with the help of university students and academics, according to Financial Tribune.
Rouhani, a pragmatist who won two landslide elections on promises of opening Iran to the world and reducing tension with the West by striking the 2015 nuclear deal, is now under fire from all sides over his woeful economic performance exacerbated by faulty domestic policies and renewed US sanctions.
Iran is currently in talks with the remaining signatories of the nuclear agreement to keep it alive.
Britain, France and Germany, the European signatories, have tried to set up a trade mechanism to continue doing business with Iran and shield the Iranian economy from US penalties. However, the special financial vehicle has not become operational yet, prompting calls by some politicians to give up hope of Europe's help.
Rouhani said talk of "constructive interaction" with the world does not mean ignoring and not responding to an act of aggression.
"The question is which path should be chosen under the current circumstances," he said.
“It’s true that Iran should try to stand on its own feet in the field of economy, but whether progress could be made without engaging with other countries should be taken into account.”
In his speech, the president called on university students to help encourage the public to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections, which will be held in February 2020, saying that it is the best way to promote moderation.
"Elections determine the fate of the country and, despite all the shortcomings, the ballot box is still the best option to fight extremism, reform the society, promote meritocracy and make people's voice heard," he said.
Rouhani said a high turnout in the elections would help elevate the country's political status on the international stage, dishearten the enemies and make them understand that their pressure and sanctions have failed.