Budget plan reveals Iran’s shifting priorities in foreign policy

Al-Monitor | : Iran’s parliament is studying a proposed budget for the next fiscal year amid an extremely tight economy suffering under intense US sanctions. One important aspect of this proposal is Foreign Ministry funding, which has been under increased pressure from both proponents and opponents of President Hassan Rouhani’s administration.

Rouhani’s critics argue that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has been focused exclusively on repercussions of the US exit last year from the 2015 nuclear deal and subsequent sanctions on Iran, and has neglected other important aspects of foreign affairs.

For instance, Ahmad Sobhani, Iran’s former ambassador to Mexico, believes the ministry has been held hostage by the issues surrounding the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Rouhani’s proponents, however, argue the ministry’s influence has been downgraded in Iran’s foreign policymaking. Mohsen Aminzadeh, who was deputy foreign minister during Mohammad Khatami’s presidency (1982-1992), asserted recently that the main problem with Iran’s current foreign policy is rooted in that weakened role.

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