An Iranian lawmaker has criticized an initiative to devise a 5-year development plan for Gaza, saying it is the responsibility of Palestinians, not Iranians.
MP for Chabahar, Moeinoddin Saeedi, told Roydad24 website in Tehran, “We have managed to complete only 20 percent of our own country's development plan and now they intend to write the first five-year development plan for Palestine as well.”
He went on say, "We must seek to solve the problems of our own country first. Our development programs have not been properly implemented and have failed to solve existing challenges."
Originally scheduled to end in 2021, Iran's sixth Five-Year National Development Plan has been extended until mid-2024. Even so, based on Parliament Research Center's analysis, so far just 30% of the plan was partially has been implemented, 40% remained untouched, and 30% could not be assessed. Yet, Saeedi said, the same organization has called for a developmental plan for Palestine since "Israel is approaching its last stage of collapse".
Since earlier this year, the Iranian regime has amplified its rhetoric heralding “an imminent collapse of the Zionist entity,” especially in the light of Israeli protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
As part of its economic development, Iran devises multi-year plans as a guide for the executive branch and parliament, which is responsible for examining and approving the annual budget.
After over 18 months of delay, the seventh plan was finally presented to the parliament by the president Ebrahim Raisi earlier this year. Economists have called the plan a pointless bureaucratic exercise amid overall economic and political instability. In addition, lawmakers have expressed serious concerns about the plan's economic implications for the country, and despite making a number of changes, they have called it deficient.
Due to sanctions and growing corruption, Iranian governments have been unable to implement any meaningful development plans for more than a decade. Amid international isolation, Tehran has been highlighting its strategy to join non-Western blocs. However, even a former commander of the IRGC deemed the strategy of joining international organizations such as BRICS and SCO unproductive due to US sanctions.
There is also another significant plan called Iran's "Twenty-Year Vision Document", that essentially calls for Iran to be the leading nation in the region with regard to economic achievements by 2025, which is just two years away.
The question arises, however, why the regime is even entertaining the idea of helping Gaza’s development when they need the public’s vote for the upcoming Parliamentary elections in March. Even the conservatives have admitted that the general public lacks an appetite for the Palestinian cause.
Even a Holocaust denier such as former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has remained silent about the war in Gaza, refusing to repeat the regime’s talking points. His silence has led to state-controlled media repeatedly pressuring Ahmadinejad to say something.
Similarly, the leaders of the ultra-hardliner party Paydari have also remained generally silent on the war in Gaza.
As the regime actively refrains from assisting Hamas on the ground through the so-called Axis of Resistance, it appears as if it has two objectives in mind. First to send a message to Palestinians that although they are not providing much assistance at the present time, they will help during the post-war period with the rebuilding process, as well as hinting to others in the region that they are interested in remaining involved in the negotiations and participating in post-war decisions, a point that is further reinforced when Iran has been asked to participate at the summit in Saudi Arabia about the Gaza situation.
But the Iranian public remains very sensitive toward the issue of spending money on militant groups in other countries, when they have to endure a 50-percent annual inflation rate. The regime is also concerned about a wider war, which could involve the United States, with incalculable consequences.