Amid its most serious internal crisis in 40 years, the Islamic Republic is now facing daily criticism of its foreign policy, even in its government-controlled media.
Multiple pundits and politicians are questioning a one-sided foreign policy in favor of China and Russia and calling for balance and a resumption of the suspended nuclear talks with the West. They have also unleashed tough criticism against foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, saying that he is not capable of steering the country’s foreign relations.
The attacks began after he attended a regional summit in Jordan, where he met the European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, expressing Tehran’s readiness to resume nuclear talks. No tangible results emerged from the trip.
Expediency Council member Mohammad Sadr, has harshly criticized Iran's dependency on Russia and China in an interview with the centrist Entekhab News, charging that the two countries are not Iran's strategic allies, but they solely follow their own interests. He further criticized the foreign minister and the President Ebrahim Raisi for failing to give a proper response to China putting its signature on a statement with the Gulf Cooperation Council states that questioned Iran's ownership of three Persian Gulf islands.
Mohammad Sadr, member of Islamic Republic's Expediency Council
In the reality of the Islamic Republic, everyone knows that these decisions are made in the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, not at the foreign ministry or by the president.
Earlier last week, others including academic and foreign relations expert Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh also attacked Iran's ideological foreign policy and the performance of the Foreign Ministry, while former diplomat Ahmad Azizi called on Khamenei's office to take over the responsibilities of the Foreign Ministry.
Sadr also criticized Iran's policy regarding relations with Saudi Arabia, adding that Riyadh is waiting for US Republicans to win the presidency, before revealing its real intentions toward Iran. Sadr called for a realistic foreign policy that would prioritize the country's national interests. Iran, he said, should maintain relations with all countries except Israel, and seek to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, or JCPOA.
Academic and expert on foreign policy Mehdi Motaharnia
An expert on international relations Mehdi Motaharnia told Fararu website in Tehran that if Iran continues its current foreign policy of aligning with China and Russia and considering itself an enemy of the United States and Europe, it will have no third option soon vis-à-vis the EU-US-Israeli alliance and the new alliance between Arab countries and Israel. He warned that China and Russia have also let Tehran down.
Fararu observed that the biggest political upheaval of the country in the past 43 years has paralyzed the government and asked Motaharnia if there was a third way out for Iran.
Motaharnia responded that Iran's tilt towards the Russia and China has left nothing of its initial non-alignment policy. As a result, whatever is against the West finds legitimacy. This inevitably brings about an identity crisis for the political system.
He added that Tehran not only needs to redefine its relations with the West, but it also needs to reform its internal governance. Motaharnia said that this will determine international community's approach to Iran in coming months.
Meanwhile, as some of Iran's hardliners such as the editor of Kayhan newspaper have harshly attacked Amir Abdollahian's attempts to resume talks with the West, former diplomat Fereidouin Majles has said in an interview with moderate Roiuyda24 website that the approach of some of Raisi's supporters will lead to Iran's further isolation. Majlesi said ironically that while everybody wants to determine the fate of the JCPOA in his own way, let us shut down the Foreign Ministry and let the Tehran Municipality to regulate Iran's relations with the rest of the world. Majlesi charged that the Foreign Ministry's critics have no concern about Iran's interests.