The advancement of wide-ranging ties with Russia holds a special place on Iran’s foreign policy agenda. Iran’s priority goals include, on the one hand, restoring its relations with the West, and on the other, further consolidating its ties with Russia, China and India.
Earlier this month, Mr Mehdi Sanaei of Iran, member of the Valdai International Discussion Club, was appointed the Islamic Republic’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Russian Federation. His first news conference in this capacity took place at RIA Novosti’s multimedia press center. He told the conference about the main objectives of Iran’s foreign policy, as well as of the importance of bilateral relations with Russia.
Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Sanaei named some of Iran’s principal foreign policy objectives which have been drawn up under President Hassan Rouhani and with due account taken of current global changes.
“These include cooperating constructively and effectively with all countries; working toward detente and alleviating tensions; rebuilding [Iran] and effecting reforms benefiting the nation’s best interests, in collaboration with influential powers on the world’s arena; improving relations with the neighboring countries, reviving relations with traditional partners in Europe and Asia; reducing and removing international sanctions against Iran (unilateral and multilateral alike); bearing a constructive influence on international developments such as combating terrorism and extremism and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; dispelling doubts over the peaceful character of Iran’s nuclear program; raising the country’s international profile; practicing parliamentary diplomacy; opposing countries that seek to create a unipolar world; cooperating and integrating with neighboring countries and with the Islamic world at large.”
Iran’s foreign policy is also aimed at neutralizing three hostile concepts inspired and realized in recent years from abroad, the ambassador said. The first is Islamophobia, which has been designed to create a harsh image of Islam for the rest of the world. The second, Iranophobia, pictures Iran as a severe and uncompromising nation. And the third is aimed at creating divisions between various sects, religions, and ethnic groups.
The advancement of wide-ranging ties with Russia holds a special place on Iran’s foreign policy agenda. According to Sanaei, Iran’s priority goals include, on the one hand, restoring its relations with the West, and on the other, further consolidating its ties with Russia, China and India. The newly appointed ambassador reminded his audience that at the recent summit meeting in Bishkek, Presidents Rouhani and Vladimir Putin both stressed the importance of personal relations and agreed to further expand their bilateral contacts. In Sanaei’s view, there is a lot of mutual trust between the two countries today.
Speaking of the conflict in Syrian and its resolution, Sanaei said that Iran believes in maintaining peace and stability. “Iran deems it imperative to stop the conflict and is wholly opposed to foreign interference into the country’s domestic affairs.” According to Sanaei, “Russian-Iranian cooperation over Syria is exemplary in terms of collaboration at a regional level.”
The ambassador highlighted the positive results of the negotiations held in Geneva on November 24 this year between Iran and the six international negotiators on Tehran’s nuclear program. “Reaching those agreements was a historic event, as well as a major achievement of Iran’s foreign policy and of the international community in general.” Mr Sanaei praised Russia in particular for its instrumental role in these talks. “Russia held a realistic stand from the very start: resolving Iran’s nuclear issue with a negotiated solution, taking the road of peace and harmony,” he said. “At the same time, Russia recognized Iran’s right to enrich uranium and to develop a peaceful nuclear program of its own. The agreements in Geneva confirmed this.”