PHOTO: The Supreme Leader with Iran’s new Parliament on Sunday

Addressing the new Parliament on Sunday, Iran’s Supreme Leader repeated his challenge to the Rouhani Government over the economy.

Ayatollah Khamenei declared:

Economy is a focal concern of our country and we must resolve it….

We have to look at each government move in the economic field and see where it lies at the chart of the Resistance Economy.

The caution was the second by the Supreme Leader in 48 hours. On Friday, he used a ceremony in Tehran to check the Government’s quest for foreign investment as part of recovery: “Merging a country’s economy with the global economy is not an honor, but a damage.”

Khamenei has insisted since 2012 that Iran’s future lies in the self-sufficiency of a “Resistance Economy”, and he has maintained the line despite January’s implementation of the nuclear deal and the prospective lifting of US and European sanctions. In late March, he said that President Rouhani and his Ministers must not show weakness before the US, and warned that he could take over supervision of economic strategy.

The Supreme Leader couched Sunday’s call in an expression of sympathy with younger Iranians, who have an unemployment rate of more than 25%: “The shame that burdens my heart, over unemployed youth going home empty handed, is no less than their burden.”

He then returned to his theme of the pernicious influence of the West, and implicitly of the appeasement of Iranian officials: “On the topic of culture, I feel that there exists a sense of indifference both in producing useful cultural goods and preventing harmful cultural goods.”

In a speech to Parliament on Monday, Economy Minister Ali Tayyebnia did not respond directly to the Supreme Leader but declared that the economy will grow by 5% in 2016-2017.

Tayyebnia proclaimed that this year will be a turning point for ending the country’s slow economic growth and bringing national progress.

The Government has yet to submit its 2016-2017, which was due in December, to Parliament for approval.