Iranian, Swiss presidents hold phone talks

February 17, 2021 - 21:21

TEHRAN – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke by phone with his Swiss counterpart Guy Parmelin late on Tuesday to discuss bilateral and international issues.

Rouhani described the good relations between Tehran and Bern as historical and deep, and stressed that it is necessary to develop and deepen these good relations more than before and within the framework of the joint cooperation roadmap, considering the high capacities in both countries.

Underlining the need to further boost Tehran-Bern relations, the Iranian president said, “Fortunately, Iran-Switzerland relations are in a good state by drawing a roadmap for relations in various political, cultural and economic fields, such as transportation, health, medicine, agriculture and science and technology, even during the tough U.S. sanctions.”

“We are seeking to further facilitate the activities of important Swiss companies that have continued to operate in Iran despite sanctions,” he added, according to a statement issued by the Iranian presidency.

According to the statement, Rouhani also called for the necessary measures to be taken effectively for the Swiss financial channel and the implementation of those joint agreements that have been suspended due to the policies of the previous U.S. administration, and a step towards the use of capacities.

Underlining that resolving problems through threats, pressure and coercion against the Iranian people has certainly failed, Rouhani pointed out that “maximum U.S. pressure has completely failed with the resistance of the Iranian people, and it is only through methods based on rationality and mutual respect that problems can be overcome.”

He described the re-discussion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which is a product of the long efforts of different countries, impossible and contrary to UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and said, “Tehran's strategy towards the JCPOA is completely clear. The practical lifting of sanctions by the United States, and not just on paper, will lead us back to fulfilling the obligations that we have reduced according to the deal.”

“Now the ball is in America's court, and whenever it effectively lifts illegal sanctions, everything will get back on track,” the president noted.

Earlier in January, Rouhani reiterated the same position. He said the new U.S. administration should return to international regulations and resolutions including UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the JCPOA in 2015.

“If they (the Biden administration) sincerely return to law, it’s naturally we will return to our commitments. It became clear for the world and our nation that the policy of maximum pressure and economic terrorism against Iran has failed 100%,” Rouhani stated.

The Iranian president also said the ball is in the U.S. court and that the U.S. needs to return to the JCPOA.

“The ball is in the U.S. court now. If Washington returns to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, we will also fully respect our commitments under the deal,” he remarked.

Similarly, Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi had also underlined the need for Washington to take the first diplomatic move.

“The ball is in the U.S. court,” Takht-Ravanchi told NBC News in a recent interview. “It is totally up to the new administration. So as soon as they implement their obligations, Iran has said on numerous occasions that Iran will return to the full implementation of its undertakings.”

On Wednesday, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, also said that the U.S. needs to take action and that this time Iran would act only after it sees actions speak louder than words.

Addressing the people of Azerbaijan province via video conference on Wednesday, the Leader said, “About the JCPOA, promises were made by the other side. I am saying one thing: We’ve heard many promises which were broken and contradicted in practice. Mere words don't help. This time only action! Action! If the Islamic Republic sees action from the other side, it will act too.”

He added, “We set the condition and the condition will not be retreated from.”

In addition to the JCPOA, the Iranian president also discussed regional issues in his telephone conversation with his Swiss counterpart.

He described the Hormuz Peace Endeavour (HOPE) initiative as a step to encourage collective security in the region and welcomed any constructive and operational initiative by countries such as Switzerland, emphasizing, “Undoubtedly, in an insecure environment, everyone in the region and in Europe will be harmed, and Iran is ready to take confidence-building measures if the other countries in the region show the necessary will.”

As regards Yemen, Rouhani referred to the bad situation of the Yemeni people, calling for an immediate ceasefire, the sending of aid, the prevention of arms transfers to some countries in the region, and finally the start of Yemeni-Yemeni talks as the final solution to return peace to the country.

President Parmelin, for his part, congratulated the government and people of Iran on the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution noting that “Bern is willing to develop relations with Iran in areas of mutual interest and will make every effort in this regard.”

He expressed satisfaction with the activities of Swiss companies in Iran, despite U.S. sanctions, and referred to the Swiss financial channel and its role, and said that Switzerland is committed to transferring Iranian assets in some countries to this channel.

The Swiss president also described the current situation in the international arena as another opportunity for all parties to return to fulfill their obligations, and said that Switzerland was ready to make efforts in this direction.

Parmelin also stressed the importance of returning security to Yemen and strengthening regional cooperation, saying that Iran, given its effective role in the region, could help restore peace to Yemen with the help of other countries, including the European Union.

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths paid a visit to Iran during which he met with senior Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his special assistant Ali-Asghar Khaji.

Zarif and Griffiths discussed the latest status of the Yemen crisis, and explored avenues to achieve peace and stability in the Arab country, according to a statement issued by the Iranian Foreign Ministry following the meeting.

The chief Iranian diplomat highlighted the developments following the beginning of the Yemen crisis, especially the history of Iran's moves and initiatives in these years through different channels, and elaborated on the Islamic Republic's viewpoint regarding the need to end this big humanitarian crisis in the region, and the necessity of mitigating the pains and problems of the deprived people of Yemen.

Zarif noted that a political solution, rather than an imposed war, is the only way to resolve the Yemen crisis.

Iran’s top diplomat said Tehran is fully prepared to support any effective role played by the UN in settling the crisis considering the very difficult conditions caused by the war and economic siege imposed on the people of Yemen.

The UN envoy, in turn, highlighted the importance of being aware of Iran's views on the establishment of peace and calm in Yemen.

He also elaborated on the UN's viewpoint on the settlement of the Yemen crisis through the establishment of a ceasefire, delivery of economic aid and resumption of political talks.

Immediately after Saudi Arabia led a war against Yemen in March 2015 to restore a government loyal to Riyadh, Iran presented a four-point plan to the UN to end the war. Iran's proposal called for the cessation of hostilities and an immediate end to all foreign military attacks, direct delivery of medical and humanitarian aid, the resumption of political talks and the creation of a broad Yemeni unity government.

“It is imperative for the international community to get more effectively involved in ending the senseless aerial attacks and establishing a ceasefire,” Zarif wrote in a letter to then UN chief Ban Ki-moon in April 2015.

Iran also reached out to the Persian Gulf’s Arab states to advance security and stability in the region.

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