Lifting ‘cruel’ sanctions will lead to stronger Iranian involvement in regional arrangements: FM

November 19, 2021 - 23:19

TEHRAN - Iran’s foreign minister on Wednesday expressed hope that a lifting of Washington’s “illegitimate” and “cruel” sanctions will lead to closer interactions between Iran and the 21-member Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

“More than two decades of active work and cooperation within the framework of the IORA have increasingly revealed its huge capacities for economic cooperation among member states,” Hossein Amir Abdollahian said in a statement at the meeting of the IORA council of ministers.

Amir Abdollahian drew a parallel between the bright prospects for cooperation in the IORA and the Indian Ocean’s “huge blessings” for the coastal states, saying Iran is well aware of such enormous potential and is determined to expand and deepen ties with the association.

Hinting at the devastating consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic for the entire world including the IORA members, he said, “The noble nation of Iran has been struggling with the coronavirus at a time when the country’s economic and financial capability has been severely affected by the restrictions caused by illegitimate and cruel U.S. sanctions.”

“The lifting of sanctions and restoration of Iran’s rights will not only render positive economic and humanitarian impacts, but will undoubtedly lead to a stronger and more effective presence of the Islamic Republic of Iran in regional arrangements, including IORA,” the chief Iranian diplomat said, according to Press TV.

Tehran has been engaged in high-profile negotiations in the Austrian capital, Vienna, since earlier this year with the aim of lifting the United States’ unlawful sanctions, slapped on Tehran under the Trump administration after the U.S. unilaterally quit the 2015 Iran nuclear pact, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The Vienna negotiations, through which Iran aims to have all U.S. sanctions removed, are expected to bring the U.S. back into the nuclear deal.

In his statement, Amir Abdollahian also explained that Tehran had recently reinforced the “national coordination mechanism for the IORA through which various Iranian line ministries and bodies have reinvigorated their effective participation in eight IORA priorities and clusters for cooperation.”

“At the latest development, Iran’s vice president for women and family affairs has volunteered to assume the role as the coordinator of the IORA cross-cutting area of ‘Women’s Economic Empowerment.’”

“Moreover, the Tehran-based IORA Regional Centre for Science and Technology Transfer (IORA-RCSTT) continues to enjoy the strong support of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he added.

Lifting all illegal sanctions is Iran’s main goal in Vienna talks

Also on Thursday, Amir Abdollahian said the main goal pursued by the Islamic Republic during the forthcoming talks with the remaining parties to the nuclear deal is to secure lifting of all illegal sanctions.

Amir Abdollahian made the remarks in phone call with his Polish counterpart, Zbigniew Rau.

The remaining parties to the nuclear deal are Iran, the three European states – Britain, Germany, and France known as E3 – Russia and China. The parties are set to resume on November 29 in Vienna. 

Talks to end illegal sanctions on Iran started in April after President Joe Biden announced his administration is ready to rejoin the nuclear talks. Six rounds of talks were held until June. The talks were suspended due to the presidential election in Iran in which a new government came to power. 

During his phone call with Poland’s chief diplomat, Amir Abdollahian stressed that the main goal pursued by Tehran through participation of the forthcoming talks is removal of all illegal sanctions.

“All participants [in Vienna talks] have reached the common understanding that the United States is the main party to blame and is responsible for the current state [of negotiations],” Amir Abdollahian added.

After withdrawal from the JCPOA, former Trump launched a “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic, which he said was aimed to compel Iran into negotiating a new deal.

Iran has repeatedly said that its participation in the Vienna talks is aimed to have all U.S. sanctions removed, declaring that it would reciprocate a verifiable removal of the sanctions by resuming its nuclear obligations under the accord.

In the latest development surrounding the issue, Washington and its Persian Gulf Arab allies — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates — on Wednesday “welcomed” the upcoming seventh round of the Vienna talks and even called for “an urgent mutual return to full compliance with the JCPOA,” despite the fact that Saudi Arabia and the UAE – in addition to Israel – had cheered Trump’s withdrawal from the deal and his “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.

During the Thursday phone call, Amir Abdollahian also thanked Poland for donating one million doses of coronavirus vaccine to Iran, saying the move was an example of humanitarian relations between the two countries.

He said despite the United States’ inhumane sanctions, Iran has covered more than four million Afghan refugees in its vaccination drive, stressing that his country welcomes any initiative by other countries, especially Poland, to help the Afghan people, including the refugees who are not in good conditions these days.

Pointing to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Amir Abdollahian underlined that Iran supports establishment of peace in the Arab country, reiterating Tehran’s long held position that the Yemeni crisis has no military solution.

The siege of Yemen must be lifted and the war must be brough to an end, he stressed, making a reference to the Saudi-led military campaign and blockade of Yemen, which has been underway since 2015.

The Polish foreign minister, for his part, voiced his country’s determination to enhance between Warsaw and Tehran.