Amir Abdollahian: Raisi's visit to Russia is a turning point in the policy of good neighborliness

January 19, 2022 - 22:2

TEHRAN — In an interview with Nour News, a media outlet close to the Supreme National Security Council, published on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian expressed his views on President Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to Moscow.

Amir Abdollahian also outlined Iran’s active and balanced foreign policy.

According to the foreign minister, the principled position of Iran is that the security of the region must be provided by the countries of the region. 

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has always emphasized its principled policy of strengthening good neighborliness, building trust and dialogue with its neighbors, and considers lasting security possible only through cooperation, partnership and peace,” he noted.

He added that Iran has already presented the idea of establishing a regional dialogue forum and an initiative for cooperation with the countries in the region. 

“Our goal is to maintain stability and security in the region. In this regard, Russia has presented a plan to establish a security system in the Persian Gulf with regional participation and supra-regional support, which has been reviewed in different periods,” Amir Abdollahian outlined, elaborating on Iran-Russia policy.

The foreign minister says Iran has already presented the idea of establishing a regional dialogue forum and an initiative for regional cooperation. 

He added that the plan presented by the Russians is theoretically based on many of the principles and methods set forth in Iran’s initiatives.

These principles include adherence to international law, fight against terrorism, military transparency, arms control, pursuit of a nuclear-weapons-free West Asia based on Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) consistent with the interests of regional actors, economic cooperation for development of energy and transportation infrastructure, as well as facilitation of tourism, medicine, culture and political interaction, along with security issues, Amir Abdollahian expanded in his interview. 

“In this regard, we supported their efforts to hold a meeting of the Security Council on security in the Persian Gulf on October 20, 2020. At the same time, the presentation of any plan to ensure the security of the region must be pursued with the presence of the countries of the region, and unrelated issues must be out of the scope of studying. An element like the Zionist regime is causing insecurity for both West Asia and the Persian Gulf,” he added.

Long-term cooperation between Iran and Russia

When asked about long-term cooperation with Russia, the foreign minister noted that there are various strategic issues in Tehran-Moscow relations. 

“We see Mr. Putin's Russia as different from the former Soviet Union, and the two countries' strategic view of foreign relations as the hinge of new relations. Syria has been a successful model of regional cooperation between the two countries in recent years,” he remarked, exemplifying Iran-Russia joint campaigns in the fight against Daesh in Syria.
Iran’s top diplomat noted that despite the restrictions imposed by the U.S. unilateral sanctions against Iran, there is a strong desire on the part of the two countries' private and public sectors to cooperate in terms of exports and imports.

“Cooperation of Russian companies and economic authorities, in accordance with their considerations arising from U.S. sanctions against Iran, coupled with Western sanctions against Russia in various sectors such as finance, technical services, logistics, etc. as well as restrictions and the financial capacity of the Iranian parties in the fields of trade, investment and technical services and engineering are on the agenda,” he explained. 

Amir Abdollahian then went on to refer to other issues on the agenda, such as development of trade cooperation between the two countries, extension long-term comprehensive cooperation and removal of some obstacles, such as financial and investment resources, and efforts to neutralize international sanctions against the two countries.

Balance between the West and the East

When asked about the balanced foreign policy approach by the Raisi administration, the chief diplomat said the foreign relations of the government are planned within the framework of “balanced foreign policy, and dynamic, intelligent diplomacy and interaction”, noting that the focus of the diplomatic agenda since the new government began its work has been premised on the three priorities of “neighborly policy,” “Asia-oriented policy with emphasis on looking the East,” and “economy-oriented diplomacy.”

In addition to previous problems in Iran’s neighboring countries, the government faced new crises in Afghanistan and the South Caucasus, the supply of Covid vaccine 19, and receiving dues owed to the country, according to the foreign minister. 

“For example, Iran has been able to reach an agreement with Iraq on debt collection and resolve the debt problem with Turkmenistan, and enter a new chapter of interactions with regional countries including Oman and Qatar, and Kuwait. It has also re-entered cooperation with the UAE as well as talks with resuming the talks with Saudi Arabia and taking it to a new level,” Amir Abdollahian exemplified.

He added that the Foreign Ministry has been able to implement the 25-year Iran-China strategic partnership agreement, prepare for a similar agreement with Russia, intensify trade relations with India, and turn the observer's status in the SCO to a permanent membership and a huge window of opportunity has opened on the triangle of politics, trade and economy of the country.

Raisi's visit to Russia is a turning point in the policy of good neighborliness and looking to the East, according to Iran’s top diplomat.

“Of course, in addition to these priorities, the government's foreign policy has balanced, dynamic and intelligent elements. This means that developing relations with neighboring countries, activating economic diplomacy, and prioritizing economy in foreign interactions, especially with Eastern and Asian partners, are among the priorities of the Foreign Ministry,” Amir Abdollahian stated. 

Another meaning of balanced, dynamic, and intelligent foreign policy, according to the foreign minister, is that it does not stop in one direction considering other geographical areas including Africa, Latin America, Europe and so on.

“An active, dynamic and intelligent foreign policy requires active participation in the region and the world and cannot be ignored by global actors. Vast number of phone conversations between the president and the minister of foreign affairs with foreign counterparts, hosting high-ranking political and economic officials of other countries, the beginning of Iran's negotiations to lift the oppressive sanctions, and the deputy foreign minister's extensive travels, meetings and consultations with a range of European and non-European foreign officials can be assessed in this framework,” Amir Abdollahian said, exemplifying active, dynamic and intelligent foreign policy of Iran.

In conclusion, the foreign minister pointed out that initiatives, efforts, actions and policies in the field of foreign policy have the nature of a process that emerges in the context of time, so the results of political actions will be revealed in the long run.

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