Diplomat: U.S. responsible for delay in Vienna talks

April 11, 2022 - 21:7

TEHRAN — In an interview with a Croatian newspaper, Parviz Esmaeili, Iran’s ambassador to Zagreb talked about the Vienna talks, regional issues, the Ukraine crisis, and the developments in Yemen.

The ambassador said Iran is seriously pursuing an agreement to revitalize the 2015 nuclear agreement, and has so far shown enough flexibility.

Below is a part of the interview:

The (Vienna) negotiations have been suspended for several weeks. Iranian officials stress that if the United States does not cross Iran’s red lines, they are ready to sign a deal at any moment. What are these red lines? Are we really close to a nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers?

Our red line is our national interests and security. The new Iranian government has pursued the negotiations by offering initiatives for a lasting agreement. The European parties and the P4+1 know that we are seriously seeking an agreement and have shown the necessary flexibility, as well as good faith. The American side has received our message well that it is necessary to completely lift the sanctions that were lifted in the JCPOA, as well as all the sanctions that Trump imposed on us after leaving the 2015 nuclear deal.

It seems that we and the P4+1 are very close to the point of agreement. Now the main responsibility for any delay in striking the agreement lies with the U.S. government, which must reach an agreement with one or two important decisions. If Mr. Biden's administration wants to return to the 2015 agreement incompletely, or to exploit some of the sanctions imposed by Trump as a political tool against us, it must also take responsibility for not having an agreement in Vienna.

It is better for Mr. Biden not to repeat Trump's bitter and failed experience of hostility and maximum pressure on Iran. We see the success of the Vienna talks as a victory for diplomacy and a success for political and economic stability in the world. We have all had very difficult negotiations to reach this agreement. It must therefore be ensured that, if agreed, it is not easily violated by either party.

Rumors have been spread by the European Union and the United States that Russia is sabotaging the signing of the agreement. What does Russia really want, what kind of guarantee? Can Russia’s demands make an agreement impossible? And if this is true, is Russia trying to prove that Iran cannot replace Russian gas and oil in the global market?

What matters to us is the outcome of the negotiations, not the rumors and quotes. Multilateral negotiations are naturally more complex and difficult. We have witnessed bilateral or multilateral negotiations between the parties of the JCPOA many times. Each of them has submitted comments and requests at different times. Sometimes France, sometimes Russia and sometimes others. This is the nature of multilateral negotiations. But we do not go into the details of their negotiations with each other and focus on the demands, national interests and rights of our country.

An agreement with Iran will be a great help to the political and economic balance around the world. We hope that cross-cutting or minor requests of each party will not have a negative impact on this important goal. Recent rumors are not true. The world energy market is very large and it is practically impossible to eliminate any of the major energy producers, including Russia and Iran.

What is Iran's position on the war in Ukraine? Has Russia's invasion of Ukraine affected Iran-Russia relations?

We are the victims of the longest war of the last century, in which world powers unitedly supported Saddam's aggression against my country. We are well acquainted with the suffering of the war-torn people. Therefore, opposing the war and insisting on resolving disputes through negotiations is one of the principles of Iran's foreign policy.

No dispute should be considered a permit to start a war and kill and injure women and children. From the beginning of the crisis, Iran, in contact with Russian or Ukrainian officials and other influential parties, has called for an immediate ceasefire, full respect for international law and the territorial integrity of both countries, providing full security for civilians, and the settlement of disputes through dialogue. The damage to the people of Ukraine and the destruction of the infrastructure of that country, and of any other nation, is very distressing, and we hope that the negotiations will lead to an end to the conflict and a lasting peace as soon as possible.

But it should be noted that long-term resolution of disputes requires addressing its roots. The situation in the Eastern European region is fragile, and a small mistake may extend the scope of the crisis. Therefore, the parties and other countries affected by the crisis must refrain from any provocative actions that ignores the security and national sovereignty of others.

I basically believe that war is avoidable. Prevention of war in Ukraine was also possible through negotiations, but some countries seem to have preferred war. Mr. Biden traveled to Poland and emphasized ousting Putin rather than being concerned for the Ukrainian people. They are used to making decisions for other nations. It is the right of the people of Russia, Ukraine and any country to choose their leaders.

Unfortunately, the world powers have shown in practice that they are more interested in weapons than in dialogue. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact also collapsed. But the West not only did not limit NATO, but also continuously expanded its geostrategic sphere and missions. There is nothing wrong with some countries having a common defense and security pact, but it is not acceptable for such pacts to become a tool to maintain the hegemony of powers and threaten the security of other countries.

International organizations should also avoid using double standards in dealing with issues related to world peace and security. Unfortunately, the United Nations, and especially the Security Council, have repeatedly ignored this issue, causing it to become discredited and responsible for crises. The people of Palestine and Yemen are a major example of this.

It has been more than 7 years since Saudi Arabia and its supporters invaded Yemen. So far, about 380,000 civilians, including 10,000 Yemeni children have been killed in bombings or from starvation and lack of medicine. Millions have been displaced. But we did not see decisive action from the United Nations. Not only did the Western powers not punish and sanction the Saudi government and the aggressors, but they also provided them with weapons and intelligence.

World peace will not be available until the day we discriminate between human beings and nations. I ask you: Saudi Arabia executed 81 Shias and critics in a single day. What was the reaction of the West and the international community?

At the same time, our relations with Russia, Ukraine and any other country are solely subject to the fixed principles of our foreign policy and are based on respect and observance of mutual interests.

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