Russian ambassador: Economic, regional issues will feature high in Raisi-Putin meeting

January 18, 2022 - 22:3

TEHRAN — After five years, Iranian and Russian presidents will meet to extensively discuss bilateral, regional and international issues, according to Russian ambassador to Iran, Levan Dzhagaryan.

Dzhagaryan told IRNA news agency on Tuesday that the presidents of the two countries have had several telephone conversations so far. 

“Although a phone call is also very important, it cannot substitute a face-to-face meeting. This will be the first meeting between the two presidents and this meeting is very important for both Iranians and Russians.

The Russian diplomat asserted that a wide range of bilateral issues, especially economic and regional issues, are expected to be on the agenda of the talks between the presidents of Iran and Russia. 

“We hope that the meeting of the presidents of the two countries will lead to the development of cooperation between the governments of Iran and Russia in various fields,” he remarked.

We are fully prepared to cooperate with the new Iranian government

Expressing his readiness to cooperate with the new Iranian administration, Dzhagaryan said, “I am fully prepared to expand relations with Iran.” 

He added that he is optimistic about the future of Iran-Russia relations in all areas, “including economy”.

He then went on to recall his experience of more than 10 years in Iran as a diplomat, noting that the policy of the Raisi administration regarding having an eye on the East is “gratifying”. 

Iran’s negotiating team has shown necessary flexibility in the Vienna negotiations. 

According to the Russian envoy, the Kremlin government is fully prepared to cooperate with the Raisi government and it hopes to achieve good results.

He went on to express his satisfaction with the appointment of Javad Oji as the minister of petroleum and the chairman of the Iran-Russia Joint Committee and noted that he hopes Oji will find the time to meet with his Russian counterpart to determine the date and place of the next meeting of the joint committee.

Elsewhere, Dzhagaryan pointed out that two-and-half years have passed since the previous meeting of the Iran-Russia Joint Economic Committee was held and it is time for the committee to convene again. 

“Now it is the turn of the Russian side to host. Holding a meeting of the joint committee of the two countries is very important for the continuation of cooperation because the two countries are implementing many joint economic projects, including the [Garmsar-Inchehboron] railway, the Sirik thermal power plant in Hormozgan and the Bushehr power plant,” Dzhagaryan outlined. 

Our relations with Iran have nothing to do with anyone 

He also spoke about the psychological warfare of the Western media against the relations between the two countries on the eve of the visit of Raisi to Moscow, saying, “Our relations have nothing to do with the West, North, South and East, and for us the priority is bilateral relations. It does not matter to us whether the third parties are happy or not with the expansion of Tehran-Moscow relations.”

The Russian envoy added, “You are witnessing the imposition of sanctions by the Western parties against Iran and Russia, but these sanctions have no effect on relations between the two countries.” 

“We do not seek the consent of third parties to expand relations with the Islamic Republic.”

I am optimistic about negotiations

In his interview, Dzhagaryan also spoke about the process of negotiations between Iran and the P4+1 group to lift sanctions on Iran.

According to the envoy, the decision of the previous U.S. administration to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was a “wrong, illegal and a move in obvious violation of international law, specifically (UN) Security Council Resolution 2231.” 

He added that the Americans did not live up to their commitments at all, and now the question arises as to whether the United States can be trusted under these circumstances.

Referring to the start of the eighth round of nuclear talks in Vienna, he said, “The talks started a little difficult, but now we are very optimistic about the future of the talks. The negotiating team of the Islamic Republic, led by Ali Bagheri Kani, has shown the necessary flexibility, but in any case, it seeks to protect Iran's national interests.”

The Russian diplomat assessed the criticism against Moscow's position in siding with Iran as “unacceptable” and said that Russia has always been, is and will be on the side of Iran.

Dzhagaryan praised Iran for adhering to its obligations to the JCPOA, even long after the U.S. withdrawal.

“The scrapping of the JCPOA was the result of an illegal U.S. action. I hope that the Europeans will also play a constructive role in the negotiations. We still have a chance to return to the 2015 nuclear deal and we must seize this opportunity,” he asserted. 

He added that the Russian side is fully prepared to help advance the talks and Russian representative in the talks Mikhail Ulyanov will do his best to play a constructive and positive role in helping to advance the talks.

Dzhagaryan also evaluated demand by Iran in seeking guarantees and verification of the sanctions as reasonable and said, “You remember that European and Asian companies came to Iran after the JCPOA, but fled Iran due to the threat of the U.S. government during the Republican tenure.”

Hence, Dzhagaryan added, Iran's demands for guarantees and verification of a lifting of sanctions are “natural and based on a bitter historical experience.” 

“We fully understand this.”

Dzhagaryan also said Tehran-Moscow relations as not dependent on Tehran-Washington disputes. “Whether the United States imposes sanctions or not, we are fully prepared to cooperate with Iran because both countries are victims of U.S. sanctions.”

He added that Russia has never asked the United States or the European Union to lift sanctions against it, and although it welcomes the lifting of their sanctions against Russia, thanks to sanctions, agricultural production in Russia has increased dramatically, and the Russian farmers are happy about that.

“If the West continues to impose sanctions on Russia, we will continue to impose sanctions on them,” he said. 

As the Russian envoy noted, the choice is theirs, but “Russia is not a country to give up.”

“It is a myth that Russia will reduce its relations with Iran if the Vienna talks do not end successfully,” Dzhagaryan concluded. 

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