Iran FM to leave Tehran for New York on Tuesday

September 19, 2021 - 21:25

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian will travel to New York this week to participate in the meeting of the UN General Assembly where he is also expected to meet many foreign officials, according to the Iranian foreign ministry. 

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that the new Iranian foreign minister will have about 45 meetings in New York.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Khatibzadeh said the new Iranian foreign minister will leave Tehran for New York on Tuesday to take part in the United Nations General Assembly. He added that so far about 45 meetings with foreign counterparts have been scheduled for Abdollahian. 

Khatibzadeh pointed out that these meetings include bilateral talks with the foreign ministers of all the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

He underlined that there would be no meeting between Iran and the U.S. in New York. 

But the spokesman left the door wide open on the possibility of a multilateral meeting of Iran and the P4+1 group of countries which includes Russia, China, France, the UK, and Germany. 

“Regarding the meeting of the P4+1 foreign ministers, I should emphasize that if we see that this meeting can be useful in the direction of what we have said, that is useful negotiation, we will make that decision. We have not made a decision now and we have to see what the subject of the meeting can be and then make a decision based on it,” Khatibzadeh said.

He added, “What is important is that our Foreign Minister will have ‘bilateral meetings’ with all the P4+1 foreign ministers, and if it was deemed necessary and there was a special agenda and a specific issue was raised, it could be held collectively between Iran and the P4+1, but for the time being, no decision has been made in this regard.”

Khatibzadeh also touched on the stalled Vienna talks. He said Iran is reviewing its negotiating team and the U.S. should come back to Vienna with a different approach.

Commenting on the composition of the Iranian nuclear negotiating team in Vienna, he noted, “The composition of the negotiating team is under consideration and naturally changes will take place and the form of these changes has not been finalized yet and will be announced as soon as it is finalized.”

The spokesman called on the U.S. to abandon its unilateral approach. “The United States must abandon its unilateralist approach to defining what is enshrined in international law. Unilateralism under Trump was manifested by unilateral, extraterritorial, and illegal sanctions. What we see today is unilateralism in the definition of what is stipulated in the JCPOA and the benefit that Iran should derive from the JCPOA as well as the duties and responsibilities of all parties to the JCPOA signatories,” he stated. 

Khatibzadeh added, “If the United States puts aside this unilateralism, both in terms of implementation and in terms of interpretation and approach, the Vienna talks will surely move in a better direction. Iran has emphasized that the United States, as the main culprit in the current situation we are witnessing in the JCPOA, including the current U.S. administration, is violating [UNSC] Resolution 2231 and its obligations under the JCPOA.”

Khatibzadeh continued, “Unilateral and oppressive pressure on the Iranian people are continuing, and once this approach is put aside in practice and we make sure that the United States is credible and that we can verify what the United States claims, then the Vienna path will be different.”

The spokesman noted, “We do not make any more commitments to anyone than the JCPOA, and we do not accept any profit from the JCPOA less than the JCPOA. The United States must come to Vienna with a different approach.”

SCO membership showed the failure of U.S. policies
Khatibzadeh also commented on Iran’s becoming a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). “The internal mechanisms of this organization are important to us; I hope we will both implement and improve these mechanisms. Iran's membership in Shanghai is a sign of the failure of U.S. policies,” he said. 

Khatibzadeh added, “Iran's membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was the practical end of the project of isolating Iran by some international actors, including the United States, and was another sign of the failure of those policies.”

On Friday, Iran announced that it ended a 16-year-old peripheral status at the SCO to become a full member in the regional body.

“At the end of the 21st Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, held in the Tajik capital Dushanbe, the leaders of the eight main members of the organization agreed to change the membership of the Islamic Republic of Iran from an observer member to a full member and signed the relevant documents,” the Iranian presidency said in a statement. “Accordingly, the technical process of Iran becoming one of the main members of the organization has begun and Iran will henceforth cooperate and interact with member countries as the main member of the important regional organization.”

The membership was achieved during the first foreign visit by Ayatollah Seyed Ebrahim Raisi in his capacity as Iran’s president.

Addressing the SCO summit in Dushanbe, Ayatollah Raisi elaborated on this policy. “When I took over the presidency of the Islamic Republic, I introduced my foreign policy orientation as focusing on ‘economic multilateralism’ and strengthening ‘neighborhood policy’ in its broadest sense, and strengthening its presence in regional organizations,” he said. 

The Iranian president added, “The combination of the Eurasia and One Road-One Belt initiatives can be an objective realization of this approach, and the vast potential of the Islamic Republic of Iran in terms of geopolitics, population, energy, transportation, human resources, and most importantly spirituality, culture and civilization can cause a significant stimulus to this outlook.”

Foreign Minister Abdollahian described Iran’s membership in the SCO as “strategic” that will have an important impact on Iran’s “comprehensive” cooperation within the framework of the Neighborhood and Asia-oriented Policy.

Abdollahian also said that his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin have supported Iranian membership. In a tweet on Friday, Abdollahian said he met with Lavrov on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Shanghai in Dushanbe and thanked him and Putin for their support of Iran’s membership in the organization.

Earlier, Khatibzadeh had welcomed the membership on Twitter. “Warmly welcome the decision of the SCO to approve #Iran's full membership. A major step toward enhanced ties with neighbors & an important impetus for our Asia-centered foreign policy. We'll continue our efforts to build on indigenous initiatives for the good of the region,” Khatibzadeh said.

On Saturday, the Iranian foreign ministry announced the beginning of the legal and technical procedure for Iran to become a full member of the SCO.

“As a result of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s constantly pursuing the matter at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), these efforts have gathered pace since the beginning of the tenure of the 13th administration. Finally, when Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi took part in the 21st SCO summit in the city of Dushanbe in Tajikistan, all 8 main members of the SCO unanimously announced their agreement to our country’s request for permanent membership in this organization. Accordingly, the legal, technical and administrative procedure of the membership began,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. 

It added, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its pleasure over this joyful accomplishment for the country while highlighting its commitment to tap into all its specialized potential to make the necessary coordination with other relevant bodies as well as the SCO’s Secretariat to make the legal and administrative procedure of the membership run its course in the shortest possible time.”

The statement noted, “The acceptance of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s request for membership in the SCO is a key step and plays a positive role in the promotion of our country’s cooperation and relations with the SCO member states in all bilateral, regional and international areas.”

It concluded, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its gratitude to all SCO members for having agreed to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s membership and will employ an active diplomacy to boost its relations with the diplomatic apparatuses of the SCO member states within the framework of the organization [’s regulations].”

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