Iran FM talks with UN chief, receives congratulatory messages 

February 11, 2023 - 23:12

TEHRAN - Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres have discussed some regional and international developments including the massive earthquakes in Turkey and Syria as well as the latest state of the sanctions removal talks.

Amir Abdollahian pointed to the UN chief’s initiative to hold regional dialog and emphasized the balanced foreign policy doctrine of the Iranian government. He said the Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes continuation of such meetings and increased regional cooperation, according to the Iranian foreign ministry.

The top Iranian diplomat then stressed the need to increase international aid for quake-hit people in Turkey and Syria. He said people are facing a catastrophic situation in Idlib, Syria, because the Syrian government has no access to the region.

Amir Abdollahian added that the UN chief’s deputy for the coordination of humanitarian affairs is expected to pay special attention to the issue.

He further referred to relief aid Iran is giving to the quake-stricken people and announced Tehran’s readiness to send relief teams to Idlib, Syria.

The Iranian foreign minister also spoke about the sanctions removal talks and the necessity of the International Atomic Energy Agency acting professionally. Amir Abdollahian said the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and the IAEA have worked out a framework for cooperation.

He noted that a visit by the IAEA chief to Tehran is on the agenda of both sides.

The UN secretary general for his part congratulated the Iranian president and foreign minister on the National Day of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Guterres described the continuation of regional cooperation as important.

The UN chief pointed to the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria and stressed that his deputy for humanitarian affairs is heading to Turkey and Syria and that the UN will do its utmost to help the people in the quake zone including in Syria.

Guterres said, “We believe that helping the people of Syria is a completely humanitarian issue.”

He further referred to the sanctions removal talks, saying there is no choice but the return of all sides to the Iran nuclear deal, JCPOA. 

Guterres said that he will continue supporting the diplomatic path and negotiations until a final agreement is reached.

The two sides held consultations on the latest state of the sanctions lifting talks and some other issues of mutual interest.

Congratulatory messages

The Iranian foreign minister also received messages congratulating him on the occasion of the 44th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution of 1979. He received such messages from the foreign ministers of India, Madagascar, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Georgia, Algeria, Bulgaria, Venezuela, Romania, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Cuba, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Croatia, Russia, Syria, Mauritania, Serbia, Turkmenistan, Qatar, Thailand, and Hungary, as well as the secretary general of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the UN chief. 

Amir Abdollahian comments on unrest

Amir Abdollahian also gave an interview to NPR in which he addressed a variety of issues. Responding to a question on pardons the Leader of the Islamic Revolution offered to prisoners and detainees, the foreign minister said, “First of all, I think the use of the phrase “tens of thousands of people have been arrested” is not accurate information. I say this with confidence that first of all, no student was arrested inside universities during the riots period. Only people who played a role in street riots were arrested. However, hundreds of people got excited or acted emotionally and were carried away. Well, these people who were in prison were granted pardon by the Leader on the occasion of the celebrations to mark the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic revolution. The Leader of the Islamic Revolution consistently pays special attention to the issue of compassion. And therefore, he ordered the release of all these people except those who had committed homicide or a major crime.”

He further said, “In my opinion, these figures have been exaggerated. Even human rights entities have exaggerated. Even concerning the number of killed people, exaggerated figures have been released. You know during these riots an important incident took place. In spite of escalated tension, the police were not allowed to carry firearms. But you know, Israeli and American weapons came through the borders of some of our neighboring countries that are not pretty stable. They caused riots among the people and used these weapons.”

He added, “First of all, I am speaking with you as an Iranian authority who is fully aware of the details.  About 90 Iranian police forces were killed and martyred by the rioters. More than 4,000 police forces were injured. A small number of people were also killed by the rioters who were armed with firearms or other weapons. However, these astronomical and exaggerated figures are entirely fabricated. You know in that period even if an individual had died naturally or in a car accident, they would have released their photos in social networks and media and said they had been killed by the Iranian police. We have evidence of tens of such cases.”

Commenting on violence in Iran, the foreign minister said, “We are intending to hold an exhibition very soon in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and invite ambassadors and diplomats to come and visit the exhibition. And do you what is going to be exhibited here? The weapons that had been smuggled from outside and handed in to the rioters. For example, one of these weapons had been smuggled from one of our neighboring countries in the guise of a set of suit and clothes. When you unpack a chique package of suit, you will find an automatic gun inside it. Tens of such weapons were smuggled into Iran.”

As for detentions, the foreign minister said he did not confirm that journalists have been arrested. “We do not confirm the detention of journalists in Iran. Very easily, they attach a label to a person who has been arrested and call that person a human rights defender, journalist or other untrue titles. During the riots, no journalist was arrested. See, just two weeks ago something happened in Iran. There was a fraudster who owed money to people but wanted to run away from Iran. He released footage of himself in social media and claimed he had been a protestor and had been tortured. He began a hue and cry. This is while he was a fraudster and had a lot of private complainants. The police arrested him and it turned out that he had lied. You see, in the West, they had planned for the riots deliberately and purposefully. Let me ask you a question. The media in the West maneuvered on Ms. Mahsa Amini. But did they really cover that much the story of Shireen Abu Akleh as well? Shireen Abu Akleh was shot killed by the Israeli police.”

Amir Abdollahian also answered questions on the developments regarding the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally called the JCPOA. “Definitely we are not seeking nuclear weapons. However, as with the negotiations we have conducted with the JCPOA parties, if the other sides take steps within the framework of logic and respect for the rights of the people of Iran, we have taken important measures during the past months to reach the final step. And the American side repeatedly sends messages that the JCPOA is important to them and they want to return to the deal. I think the Americans are unable to make a decision. I do not know what is going on in the White House. But what is clear is that still we do not see the power in the US to make a decision to return to the JCPOA,” he said.

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