Khamenei’s ‘resistance of economy’ plan complicates Vienna diplomacy, expert says

New policy suggests Khamenei planning for possibility of continued international sanctions, deterioration of negotiations.

March 2, 2014 00:42
1 minute read.

Ayatollah Khamenei. (photo credit: Reuters)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


WASHINGTON – Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei unveiled a strategy against international sanctions last week that encourages indigenous development of new technologies within the country, dubbed “resistance economy” by the Iranian government.

The new policy suggests Khamenei might be planning for the possibility that international sanctions could remain in place through the foreseeable future.

“Khamenei’s ‘resistance of economy’ plan could be an indicator that he is preparing for a possible breakdown in negotiations,” Nima Gerami, an Iran expert at the National Defense University, said.

In a paper published last week by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Gerami said that nuclear politics in Iran are more dynamic and consequential than often acknowledged in foreign policy circles.

Gerami casts Iran’s political establishment in three camps: nuclear supporters, who believe Iran’s nuclear rights should remain uninhibited; nuclear detractors, a largely marginalized group that argues against continuing the program; and nuclear centrists, such as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who believe Iran’s nuclear rights should be considered only one of many key issues to the national interest.

Staunch supporters and centrists are still at significant odds, Gerami writes, posing a political challenge to Khamenei, who is sympathetic to both positions.

“[Khamenei] is hedging his bets,” Gerami said in an interview, referring to the Vienna negotiations. “If Tehran’s elite divisions continue to deepen and Rouhani fails to deliver on his domestic agenda by improving the economy, Khamenei might retract his support and scuttle the nuclear talks.”

Gerami said that Khamenei governs not by decree, but consensus – while also marginalizing dissenters, keeping a lid on internal criticisms going public and shutting down intergovernmental debate through the compartmentalization of the program.

The Revolutionary Guards in Iran – and other nuclear supporters – could attempt to undercut Rouhani’s attempts to forge a longterm, credible deal, he said.

“The failure of diplomacy to deliver a comprehensive solution on the nuclear issue would signal the ascendancy of the IRGC and Iran’s staunchest nuclear supporters,” Gerami said. “They would likely respond to additional sanctions with increased belligerence and prolong Iran’s international isolation.”

“Depending on the perceived threat perception and domestic political circumstances,” he said, “that could potentially mean a break out to nuclear weapons.”

Related Content

Bushehr nuclear Iranian
August 5, 2014
Iran and the bomb: The future of negotiations


Cookie Settings