By Payman Yazdani

Indonesia interested in exchanging information, defense equipment with Iran 

August 26, 2019 - 11:7

TEHRAN– Indonesian Ambassador Octavino Alimudin in an exclusive interview with Mehr News Agency said Indonesia is interested in exchanging information and defense equipment with Iran to fight terrorism.

Following is the text of the interview:

How do you evaluate the current level of economic, political, and cultural relations between Iran and Indonesia? And what steps do you think you have taken to develop relations between two countries during your mission in Iran?

A: The two countries are really in good level of cooperation.  During the last one year, the vice president of Iran visited Indonesia and also Indonesian Minister of Health and Minister for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection came to Iran. The two countries have a very steady and developing cooperation in the fields of youth, women’s empowerment and health sectors. In general, both countries support each other, and share almost same views regarding to human rights and also multilateral forums since Indonesia currently sits as the non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. we have sent several message to the international community that we are very close to each other for example we showed our solidarity with Iran in UN security council after terrorist attacks in Sistan and Baluchistan province. Similar to Indonesia, Iranian President H.E. Hassan Rouhani sent many congratulatory or sympathy messages on any notable events happened in Indonesia.

So this year, we are very happy because the Islamic Republic of Iran supported and helped us when we held our election in Iran. Almost 280 or 290 Indonesian people casted their votes in Tehran and Qom successfully because of the support of Iran.

In cultural fields, many Indonesian feel some inheritance of Persian cultures in Indonesia brought by many traders to Indonesia and we have many things in common. 

Mayor of our Bengkulu city visited Iran this year and realized that Ashura commemoration is also organized in Bengkulu city. So we plan to invite some Iranian cultural centers to attend the event.

For the first time I landed in Tehran in 2016, we organized some paintings exhibitions. We participated in food festival in Zanjan. We will do cultural events again  again this year hopefully by October. We hope we can organize it in a big place.

On the other hand, Iran is very good in promoting its movie industry in Indonesia. It organized film festival and cultural exhibition in Jakarta. Iranian embassy in Jakarta is very active in promoting Iranian culture in Indonesia.

With same efforts by both embassies, we could expect more Iranians and Indonesians know each other about their countries.

We are happy to have participated in Quran Exhibition and Quran reciters competitions this year. It’s very difficult to compete with Iran but finally we could win.

We learnt more from Iran and hope in turns you also learn from us and how we deal with some issues for example mitigations of some calamities and natural disasters. We also came to Kish Island and participated in many events in dealing with the catastrophe or mitigation. So we hope we can share our knowledge and experience in many aspects of cooperation. 

How do you see the impact of the US unilateral withdrawal from JCPOA and imposition of new sanctions on Iran and its efforts to halt Iranian oil sales on the trade relations between Tehran and Jakarta?

A: When the US withdrew from JCPOA, we didn’t get the impact directly. We just get the impact recently. During the first quarter of the 2019, our trade volume could not reach  the same level as last year. Right now because of tightening of the unilateral sanctions against Iran, it started to make our entrepreneurs and business community to use third countries.

So when we talk about our products, basically the markets are still here. But the way we send or deliver commodities made so longer paths. It is so inconvenience. So we expect the two countries have direct connections in terms of shipment. We will try to find some ways to connect.  But at this time, we still use third countries to bring our goods.

Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and among the top 20 economies in the world that supplying 38% of its energy consumption from oil and 15% from gas, what is the role of the Persian Gulf energy resources and its importance for the Indonesian economy?

A: Basically Indonesia relies on Persian Gulf energy, for example in terms of LPG or crude oil which fit with our requirements. So we need to make sure the Persian Gulf is safe and good for maritime transport and also secure because our fishermen also are hired by some Iranian vessels. So we need to make sure that the security and safe passage of the Persian Gulf to bring our imported goods or also exported goods. Because we bring our exported good to some countries for example, Oman and Dubai. If we have some conflicts in the region, of course it will affect our distributions.

Following recent tensions between Iran and the US in the Persian Gulf, US Secretary of State Pompeo said that China, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea are heavily dependent on Persian Gulf energy and must defend their own interests in the region. Have the US and Britain invited Indonesia to join the US-led coalition in the Strait of Hormuz? What is Indonesia's position in this regard?

A: When we talk about the security of the region, basically we prefer that the littoral states of the Persian Gulf to be the main important countries/parties to ensure security in the region. So we expect that the Persian Gulf states sit together and discuss the issues, including the possibility of foreign countries or organizations to be present and help the littoral states to ensure security in the region. 

That is our position and I don’t think that we got the invitations to join the coalitions because it is still on the early stage needs discussions. But in the Security Council, we also discussed these issues. But again we bring the attentions of all member countries of the Security Council to make sure that region should be safe. That is the most important things.

Recently a high ranking Indonesian parliamentarian visited Iran and he expressed that Indonesia and Iran are ready to boost the cooperation in the fields of combating terrorism and extremism. What can two countries do to this end?

A: We share the same values when we talk about the terrorism. Right now the most important thing is how we defeat the ISIL. It’s good that you could combat most of them. So we need to talk about how to avoid the elements, the operatives who are now maybe becoming passive to return to our countries. So we need to share information. On the other hand, we can also see in Indonesia that terrorists are not only from ISIL, we also have some local disturbances, particularly those who are interpreting the Islamic values and Islam in radical ways. We can also disseminate the information and the moderate way of Islam. we have to cooperate to promote Islamic values and peaceful Islam to this end we can arrange some events and seminars together. we have already done some of these activities through our universities. 

And we have also talked about the ways to exchange our technology in defense equipment. We are very much interested in remote sensing aeronautical industries in Iran and we also see  good opportunities to collaborate in Ian's radar and electronic industries.

How do you see the future of the US ' "Deal of Century" for Palestine? Do you think it will be successful or not?

A: We did not participate at Bahrain Summit and we think for the Deal of the Century we have to differentiate firstly the political solutions and secondly the economic solutions. Indonesia thinks similar to Iran in this regards. When we talk about the economic cooperation and assistants we render to our brothers in Palestine, you don’t need the Deal of the Century. We contribute to our brothers without showing to everybody that we sent how many million dollars to Palestine. The most important thing is about the political solution. This is the first and foremost target or objective that we need to show. We hope the political solution would be prior to all. We need to make sure that the issue of occupations, illegal occupation should be resolved.  The recognition of Jerusalem, capital city of Palestine should be admitted.

I think these issues are more important than the Deal of the Century.

We do our part and if some other countries want to contribute more, it’s OK but political issue should be prior to all.

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