Iranian diplomat: Iran’s foreign policy will not change

July 3, 2021 - 21:40

TEHRAN — In an interview with IRNA news agency published on Saturday, Iranian Ambassador to Croatia Parviz Esmaeili said that the foreign policy framework of the Islamic Republic of Iran will remain unchanged. He also said that Iran has had fewer coronavirus casualties compared to the rest of the world.

Esmaeili said that President-elect Ebrahim Raisi has a high level of political experience, a history of important national management, and is aware of the demands of the people as well as international relations. 

“As for domestic policy, he said he would pay more attention to the livelihoods of the sections of society most affected by the U.S. sanctions, such as workers, retirees and fixed income groups,” he said. 

The diplomat went on to explain about the possible foreign relations in Raisi’s future administration, saying, “I must first say that determining the principles of foreign policy in Iran is the responsibility of the Leader according to the constitution, and governments are the executors of it. Therefore, the framework of our foreign relations will not change.”

The ambassador to Zagreb said that Raisi announced during the election campaigns that he supports the negotiations with the parties to the JCPOA. 

Of course, Raisi insisted, negotiation should be aimed at lifting the imposed sanctions and verification of them by Iran.

“Both Europe and the other parties to the JCPOA must live up to their commitments, and Iran, while fulfilling its obligations under the nuclear deal, must enjoy all its rights to trade and shape normal economic relations with the international community,” he underlined. 

Raisi emphasized that developing relations with all countries in a broad and balanced manner, especially with neighbors, will be on the agenda of his government.
 
“This approach will certainly help stabilize and improve regional conditions. Both Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif and the next Iranian president, Raisi, emphasized that if Saudi Arabia was ready, Iran would send its ambassador to Riyadh tomorrow,” Esmaeili noted.

Iran had fewer COVID casualties, compared to other countries

Responding to a question about Iran’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, Esmaeili said that in an emergency situation, where human lives are at stake, all countries help others. 

“But at the time of the coronavirus, we had to deal with the problems caused by the oppressive U.S. sanctions, which prevented us from having access to medicine and medical facilities faster. Therefore, the role of the U.S. government in increasing diseases and death in Iran should never be denied,” the diplomat said. 

The ambassador elaborated that Iran has a good history of producing vaccines in the region and the world, but it faced a lack of financial and primary resources due to sanctions. 

“While our assets were in some countries, such as South Korea and India, U.S. sanctions did not allow us to use our money to provide medicine, raw materials and vaccines. We even went to the International Monetary Fund to get a $5 billion loan for (importing) medicine and vaccines. They agreed, but the Trump administration stopped it with threats,” he said.

He said that the problem of financial resources definitely had a negative effect on the process and slowed down the disease control, however, Iran mobilized all the internal facilities and quickly produced the necessary medical materials and equipment. 

“We negotiated with the World Health Organization to get the vaccine from the COVAX basket. The U.S. sabotage of blocking banking channels made things even harder for us.

But the Iranian nation does not get tired or disappointed,” Esmaeili said. 

He then said that statistically speaking, despite all the problems, Iran had fewer casualties than many Western countries. However, no issue is more important than the life of every human being. 

“Iran-Croatia ties were affected by U.S. withdrawal from JCPOA”

In response to a question about Iran-Croatia ties, the ambassador said, “Unfortunately, Iran-Croatia relations in the economic and trade sectors have been reduced to a minimum due to U.S. sanctions after the withdrawal from the JCPOA. This must have been to the detriment of Croatia more than Iran. INA Oil Company was engaged in major projects in Iran, which was unilaterally stopped and left Iran due to Trump's illegal action and the re-imposition of sanctions. In our opinion, there is room for the development and expansion of economic relations between the two countries in all areas. Economic officials and business activists in Croatia are well aware that a relationship with Iran has the potential to serve their interests.”

“Iran’s view on Israel based on historical facts”

Responding to a question about Iran-Israel tensions, Esmaeili said that Iran’s view of Israel is based on a clear historical fact. 

“This regime was established from the beginning by occupying the Palestinian lands and by threatening, killing and looting the people of this land, which has continued and expanded uninterruptedly for the past seventy years. International jurists know that a legitimate and acceptable government of the international community can never be established through crime and medieval approaches. Although the Israeli government, with the support of the U.S. government and through threats and bribes, was able to gain the recognition of some countries, this will not be sustainable,” the diplomat stated. 

Esmaeili highlighted that for more than seventy years, Israel's actions have been a major source of crisis and ongoing unrest in the Middle East, sometimes involving the entire world. 

“It is very surprising that the European Union, which for the past few decades has opposed the Israeli regime's policies and try to make them ineffective, even the two-state solution, the development of settlements and the violation of the basic rights of the Palestinians, has not done anything to serious to stop such actions. I deeply believe that without resolving this chronic crisis, not the Middle East, but the world will not see lasting peace and stability,” he noted.

The ambassador noted that Iran’s proposal is to hold a referendum with the participation of all Palestinians around the world, including Jews, Christians and Muslims, to determine their fate. 

“This proposal has also been officially submitted to the United Nations and registered. One must ask why the international community and Europe do not recognize and pursue the right of the Palestinian people to determine their sovereignty and govern their country,” he pointed out.
 
"Iran builds relations with neighbors based on mutual respect”

Responding to a question about Tehran-Riyadh dialogue, Esmaeili said that the Islamic Republic’s most important condition for establishing relations with countries is mutual respect. 

“Accordingly, in recent years, we have not stopped trying to improve relations with our neighbors, especially Saudi Arabia. It was Saudi Arabia that showed no inclination. Our current president, Rouhani, even wrote a letter to the King of Saudi Arabia. In his first press conference, the president-elect also announced his readiness to activate the embassies of the two countries as soon as possible. Minister Zarif also said at the Antalya Forum that we are ready to send an ambassador to Saudi Arabia tomorrow,” he said, elaborating on Iran’s position. 

The envoy said in recent months many efforts have been made to end regional conflicts, such as the Yemen crisis, which have result in nothing but the killing of innocent people and extensive damage.
 
“We consider it necessary and positive for the Saudi Arabia to change its approach and we welcome it. The sooner the better,” he remarked. 

SA/PA

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