President Hassan Rouhani has again come out to strongly argue that his government’s bid to attract maximum foreign investment is to “promote national interests.” “We are Muslim and revolutionary Iranians. We neither idolize nor fear outsiders and will use constructive interaction with the world to advance public and national interests,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by Iranian media.
Rouhani’s rivals inside the Iranian regime, including in the ranks of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.), have throughout his first term as president attacked his plans to attract foreign investment. Such plans have been called “anti-revolutionary,” the work of “seditionists” and ultimately harmful to the national Iranian economy.
Rouhani, and his key ministers such as Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh have and continue to dismiss these charges by the critics. “Independence does not mean isolation. Independence means lack of dominance by outsiders over the country's fate,” Rouhani said on January 30.
The arrival of the French Foreign Minister in Tehran on January 31, who signed a number of economic agreements with the government of Rouhani is likely to further fuel the criticism of the hardliners in Tehran in the weeks to months to come and as Iran prepares for the May presidential elections.