Iran’s Supreme Leader has given President Rouhani a public rebuke, chiding the Government on issues from the nuclear deal with the US to the economy to next year’s Presidential election.
At a meeting with Rouhani and the Cabinet on Wednesday, Ayatollah Khamenei set out his oft-repeated line that the Government should not trust the US over implementation of the July 2015 nuclear agreement. He cited American “misconduct” to proclaim, “This experience teaches us that one cannot trust the promises of any administration in America.”
Weeks after January’s implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Supreme Leader began warning Rouhani about weakness in dealing with Washington, ruling out any negotiations other than the nuclear agreement. He chided the President for promising a “JCPOA 2” for economic recovery, saying that he could take control of planning for a “Resistance Economy” based on self-sufficiency.
Khamenei returned to the theme on Wednesday, saying the “Resistance Economy” includes “mobilization of all resources in all sectors including agriculture and industry” and advances in “aerospace, nanotechnology, nuclear, and biotechnologies”. He also issued instructions on production, banking, regulation, and businesses.
But the Supreme Leader’s sharpest intervention yesterday may have been his constraint on any Rouhani attempt for re-election in May 2017. Khamenei ruled out any preparations for a campaign, saying the Government must focus on how to “serve the nation”.
The Supreme Leader’s office was unable to block the President’s surprise victory in 2013. Initially, the Guardian Council disqualified Rouhani’s mentor, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, and allowed Rouhani to stand as a consolation candidate.
However, the expected triumph of a conservative candidate over Rouhani disappeared when the conservatives failed to unite around a single hopeful, leading to a slim majority for the current President in the first round of voting.