Vienna arena for U.S. to change behavior, says Iranian diplomat

May 5, 2021 - 22:7

TEHRAN— The Former Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman and a presidential candidate, Ramin Mehmanparast, spoke with the Lebanese Al Mayadeen News Network on Tuesday stating that the United States administration must change its behavior if they want to reduce animosity with Iran.

Mehmanparast said that the U.S. policies are aimed at putting pressure on Iran, and perhaps the main desire of the United States is that there should never be a powerful country like Iran in the region and in the international arena, and it is the Americans who never provided any circumstances to make good relations with Iran. 

Pointing to the Vienna talks, he said that these negotiations are a test for the United States.

“The Vienna talks are a test to see if the U.S. wants to change. If Biden and his government really want to go back to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), if they really want to lift the sanctions, if they want to show that they are taking steps to reduce the enmity with the Iranian people, the JCPOA is an arena for us to see and test them and check whether they are as they claim to be or not,” the former Iranian ambassador to Poland said.

He noted that Iran does not look pessimistically nor optimistically toward the nuclear deal talks, but Iran merely analyzes the United States’ behavior. 

He elaborated by saying, “Now they claim that they want to lift the sanctions, and we are looking to see if they actually lift the sanctions in practice, and we see that they do not create obstacles on the way. But if they act badly and create obstacles in the nuclear deal, surely the judgment of our people is that it is not possible to cooperate with this

United States who seeks to create obstacles and puts more pressure on our people.”

‘Iran needs to make relations with Eastern countries’

Responding to a question about the Islamic Republic’s relations with Eastern countries, Mehmanparast said there is a wrong ideology among some political pundits that if Iran reaches an agreement with Western countries, it will no longer need Eastern countries like China, Russia, India, Korea, or Japan. 

“In foreign policy, we seek to maximize national interests by having the best relations with countries, one part will be the lifting of sanctions and the other part will be extensive relations with neighbors, which will certainly have its own priority. We are neighbors with 15 countries through land and water borders,” former spokesman said. 

He highlighted the importance of establishing economic diplomacy with neighbors, saying that there is a market of five hundred million people around Iran and the Islamic Republic must pay attention to these markets and meet their needs to help domestic production.

‘Iran seeks best relations with neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia’

Regarding relations with Saudi Arabia, Mehmanparast told Al Mayadeen that Iran has always sought the best relations with its neighbors and that “we give a particular importance to Saudi Arabia.” 

He noted that Iran believes that the powerful countries of the region should stand together and work together to ensure the stability, security and development of the region.

“We consider the security of our neighbors as our own security, because if there is insecurity, this insecurity will return to our country. Unfortunately, over the years, there have been issues where we feel that the policy of the Saudi government is not in the direction of pursuing a good and ideal relationship with Iran,” the former diplomat remarked. 

He said that Iran welcomes Saudi Arabia’s cooperation, if they want to cooperate. 

“Even now, if the circumstances have been created in Saudi Arabia and they really want to cooperate well, we will definitely welcome it.”

The diplomat stated that the reason for the Saudi’s change of policy can consist of various factors, one of which could be a change of government in the United States.

Elaborating on that, he pointed to the behavioral differences between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, saying, “The fact that they feel that someone like Trump, who was an extremist and sought “maximum pressure” on Iran and the countries of the region as sources of income is gone. Biden has come and wants to change the politics of his region.”

The former ambassador noted that another reason for this change of tone could be the result of the behaviors and policies that Saudi Arabia has pursued over the past few years, one of which is politics in Yemen.

‘Iran needs to strengthen itself internally’

Responding to a question about the effect of sanctions on Iran’s economy, Mehmanparast said that sanctions are ultimately putting pressure on the Iranian economy, but perhaps 20 to 30 percent of failures at home is due to sanctions pressure.

“I believe that along with the ways we are pursuing to lift the sanctions, including the JCPOA negotiations, which must be followed in the same framework in which we believe, the JCPOA must bring us to the point where our economic situation becomes normal,” the former spokesman said. 

He urged called on the United States to lift sanctions on Iran and let everyone see in practice that Iran has no problems in economic relations, selling oil as well as financial and banking transactions.

Noting the importance of strengthening the country internally, the diplomat stated, “But if we do not reform these internal structures, it means that even if the JCPOA is implemented well and sanctions are not in place, the economy will still be in trouble and will reach a dead end. That means we have to do two things together.”

He said Iran needs an important economic surgery, and management must play a professional role in structural changes, adding the private sector must be actively involved in economy, and the government must support production and help facilitate exports. 

For the second part, he said that the Islamic Republic must reduce external pressures and try to lift sanctions as soon as possible. The combination of these two can give Iran a speedy progress and bring the country to the desired point.

‘The Islamic Republic should strengthen bilateral ties’

As a former ambassador, Mehmanparast said that he believes that Iran should try to have relations with countries in the world.

“One of the issues in foreign policy is the issue of the JCPOA, the issue of resolving our problems with Western countries, and the issue of lifting sanctions. But at the same time, we should develop bilateral relations in a much stronger way, we should have the best relations with our neighbors and other different countries of the world based on national interests. We must play a serious role in multilateral cooperation; we must try to create conditions for the benefit of the country in multilateral treaties. A major weakness of the foreign policy apparatus in the current era is the weakness of economic diplomacy,” the former diplomat remarked.


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