’If cruel sanctions are lifted there is opportunity for deal’

President clarifies on outcomes of his Moscow visit

January 26, 2022 - 21:26

TEHRAN — Speaking in his fourth televised interview on Tuesday night since taking office as president in August, Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi touched on many points, including his visit to Russia and the foreign policy approach of the government.

Raisi said that many activities and efforts have been made in Iran’s international policies, yet, many areas have not been as balanced as political ones.

“The government is pursuing a kind of balance in its international policies. Iran's trade and economic interaction with Tajikistan has tripled since my visit and we are eliminating the shortcomings,” the president explained. 

Raisi then referred to imbalance in foreign policy, saying as the country's political relations with the outside world have increased internationally, economic and trade ties have not been given due attention “and we have a sort of backwardness in this regard.”

“Enormous trade and economic capacity can be established with our country's 15 neighbors,” said the president.

Raisi went on to say that following the agreements reached during his visit to Tajikistan, the economic and trade relations between the two countries have tripled.

“Also during the visit to Turkmenistan, apart from the (gas) swap discussion, transit relations were established between the two countries and good trade and economic relations were established,” he said.

He added that as stated in the news, Iran’s relations with the Republic of Azerbaijan have been developed, and today some shortcomings are being compensated. 

This is also true in the case of Russia, the president added.

“Iran's trade capacity with Russia is not what we see today,” he said, adding that the current volume of trade ties which is more than $3 billion dollars could easily reach $10 billion. We can import many goods from Russia, and we also have many agricultural products and goods that can be exported to the Russian market,” he explained. 

Raisi noted that in the field of oil and gas, given the technology that the Russians have, there is a good capacity for cooperation, which can lead to the growth of economic interactions between the two countries, as well as Iran’s economic growth.

The president added, “There is cooperation with the Russians in the fields of transit, transportation, energy, agriculture, industry, aerospace and various other fields.”

According to the president, there are many capacities in both countries which can help promote economic ties. 

“We have advantages that Russia needs in our country, and there are advantages that can be used by Iran," he said.

In response to a question regarding a balanced foreign policy, Raisi said, “Negotiations have begun and the government's foreign policy in various fields is active, but there is no such thing as saying that negotiations solve everything. We negotiate, but not everything is negotiation.”

Raisi added that the government operates in two areas: One is neutralizing sanctions and the other is lifting sanctions. 

“One of the ways to neutralize sanctions is to have relations with our neighbors, and Russia is one of Iran's great neighbors, so we cannot ignore having economic, trade, and many relations that we can have with each other as an independent and capable country.” he stated. 

Our foreign policy plan is interaction with all countries

Raisi stated that the basis of Iran’s work is interaction with the whole world. 

“I announced this in the election campaign and I will follow this, we will interact with all the countries of the world that want to interact with us, but the countries that want to oppose us, naturally we will resist them. But what we have in our foreign policy plan is interaction with all countries.”

Regarding his visit to Russia, including how he was received and prayed at the Kremlin, the president said that the result of a trip should be “more than a smile”.

“The result of the trip should be the development of relations in the fields of energy, agriculture, industry and people's lives. What we care about is people's interests. That is what we pursued in Russia during the three-hour meeting with Mr. Putin. From the beginning to the end, bilateral, regional and international issues were on the agenda of our talks,” the president stated.

Raisi added that since Iran and Russia have common positions on international issues, it was planned how to pursue the work, and so were those sections that dealt with domestic issues.

“Mr. Lavrov had told Mr. Amir Abdollahian that immediately after our meeting, Mr. Putin had instructed the ministers that the decisions we had made with the Iranian president should be implemented instantly. I also instructed the foreign minister, the minister of economic affairs and finance, the minister of petroleum and the relevant ministers to immediately implement the agreements we had so that their effects on the economy and various issues would be clarified,” he remarked. 

Referring to the Iran-Russia consensus on the need to break the dollar's dominance over the two countries' monetary and financial transactions, Raisi said he and Putin agreed that they could do a lot of trade between the two countries by using national currency. 

“We had good agreements in the fields of defense, security, aerospace and other areas of mutual interest,” the president outlined. 

He went on to say that today in Bushehr, except for the first phase of the nuclear power plant, which has been put into operation, the government is following the implementation of phases two and three with the Russians.

He added, “Accelerating the implementation of these plans was one of the issues raised. Exports of agricultural products to Russia and imports of strategic goods from Russia with regard to the elimination of tariffs were also among the issues discussed, and given the positive view of the Russians on this issue, it could expand bilateral trade.”

Referring to the importance of activating the North-South corridor to facilitate and expand Iran's economic cooperation with neighboring countries, including Russia, the president outlined that in addition to these, various decisions regarding securing people's interests and the country's economic development in line with the neighborhood diplomacy was adopted.

Raisi added, “Regional issues, including the developments in Syria and the Caucasus, were also among the topics discussed with the Russian president, which was pursued in line with the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

On how the Vienna talks are proceeding if the United States’ request for direct talks is taken seriously, he said that this is not “new”. 

“This request is not new. It has been made for a long time. Many of these countries that come to visit us carry a message that the Americans have sent to speak directly. This has been the case for a long time, maybe in previous administrations and in our administration, but so far there have been no negotiations with the Americans,” he remarked.

Raisi concluded, “We have announced, and we will announce again, that if the parties are ready to lift the oppressive sanctions against the Iranian nation, there is opportunity for any kind of agreement.”

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