The Iran's Ambassador to Croatia, Mohammad Reza Sadegh, was a guest in today’s Studio Live, where he talked about yesterday’s decision by the US President, Donald Trump, to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
Yesterday we heard very harsh words coming from the US President Trump, he said Iran was a country which supported terrorism, which meddled in the relations in the Middle East, but what is key, regarding the nuclear agreement, is him saying that Iran continues to develop its nuclear weapons, although the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other signatory countries claim otherwise. Why do you think the US made this decision at this time?
In God’s name, the words we heard were certainly not diplomatic, nor is what Trump declared decent. The accusations are unfounded. The IAEA has published 11 reports saying that the Islamic Republic of Iran has not broken the agreement. However, the agreement, it is a multi-party, international agreement, and one country, like the US, has no right to say, by withdrawing, that the agreement is invalid. That is simply offensive to the other signatories. In any case, those same accusations had been brought forward before, and the agreement was signed after that. These are old words, old accusations. In the years after its signing, America has been breaking the agreement, and yesterday we learned that officially.
Due to the sanctions against Iran, the country has suffered significant economic damage throughout history, we remember the images from the streets of Tehran, and also from Vienna, when the agreement was reached. Somehow it was believed that the path would be opened to include Iran into the international financial circles, which is one of your big problems, you have great issues with money operations, with investments, with the economic recovery… Considering America’s strength, and what Trump said yesterday that, in some way, other countries, his allies who cooperate with Iran, would be included in the sanctions, what consequences can this decision have for Iran in this moment, and the interior politics in Iran?
First and foremost, Iran has a long history, a strong civilisation and an infrastructure, and it is a sovereign country. These threats do not affect the decisions of our people. We, as a republic, and the people who have created the republic, have known our abilities well over the past 40 years, and the people know that these empty threats will not affect them. There are difficulties in trade and economy, but our people will go through all these situations, and we are not worried about that. As the President of the Islamic Republic, Rouhani, said in his last night’s speech, we are prepared for all conditions, all options, and we have the answer for certain situations and threats coming from people like Trump, who threatens on a daily basis. We consider that worthless. And when Netanyahu supports this, it is further proof that the Iranians will not back down. However, other countries which signed the agreement must show their strength, so that we can maintain the agreement. Then, the people of Iran can determine who is right, and who is not.
In last night’s speech the President Rouhani said if Iran stays in the aggrement with other countries, Germany, France, Great Britain, China, Russia, and the EU as a guarantor, and if it is proven that the agreement is nothing more than a piece of paper, Iran will continue the process of enriching uranium. Trump said last night that, according to the American sources, the inspections were not enough, they have not entered some military facilities in Iran. Can you, as the ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran, answer – is Iran working on this, and what does the sentence by President Rohani, that Iran will continue the process if the agreement is proven to be a piece of paper, mean? Was he talking about energy, or the story Trump mentioned?
Firstly, the supervisory body is the IAEA. That institution has its own, official statements, and, as Dr. Rouhani said last night, the Islamic Republic of Iran has fulfilled all its obligations to the agreement after signing it, and that was confirmed by everyone. If you look, there are no valid reports which would show Iran breaking the rules of the agreement. This is ridiculous, that which the Prime Minister of the Zionist regime has shown and said, the foundations of it cannot stand, those accusations had existed before, and they were proven to be unfounded. But, when you ask what this agreement will look like in the end, we can confirm that one of the signatories has withdrawn, but the other parties remain committed to the agreement. If we see positive results, the agreement will remain valid. It also depends, as our president said, on the abilities of the other signatories. We are aware of ours, we hope the other five countries will be able to show their strength, as well as that the withdrawal of one party, one country, cannot undermine the agreement. As Mr Rouhani said, we have several weeks ahead, and we will see what are the options of the other signatories, so that, in case of potential problems caused by the US administration, Iran can decide on the agreement, and, of course, if the results of the agreement are in line with our interests, we will stay in the agreement. As far as the enriching of Uranium is concerned, Iran has always claimed, and continues to claim, that all these actions are peaceful, and in line with international law. Now, the illegitimate regime – I refer to Netanyahu – when accusing Iran, he should say how many nuclear bombs he has, and whether their bombs are under the Agency’s supervision. How can someone who does not recognise international institutions and their surveillance say these things? Their words confirm that international rules do not have to be respected.
It is known what kind of international relations the key, so to say, “stakeholders” in the Middle East have. We know there are no relations between Iran and Israel, there is great animosity there, and the situation is what it is. Keeping in mind what Trump has said yesterday, about the imbalance of the relations in the Middle East, and the attempts to prevent an arms race in the region which could, considering all the years-long crises, escalate further, do you think that this, but also the initiative put forward by the French President Macron, about a comprehensive approach regarding resolving the wars in Syria and Yemen which, directly or indirectly, concern your country as well, could lead to a start of solving all these crises, in a different context?
The crisis on the Middle East exists, but was caused by the forces outside the region. If the countries in this region make their own decisions, they will know in what way to solve the crisis.
I must interrupt, Donald Trump said in a joint conference with Macron that all the countries in the Middle East must take responsibility for their part of the world.
Which country sells weapons to Saudi Arabia, and equips it? Which country is it? That is the country causing the crisis, and it is Saudi Arabia that created, and supported, the ISIS, the talibans, and, with the help from America, managed to launch terrorism. The people in the region know these things. People in the Middle East are under pressure, we admit that. America and other countries, looking for buyers for their weapons, found, for example, Saudi Arabia. They (America) have dragged them (Saudi Arabia) into a situation where they continue to buy weapons from them, and they are being provoked, and pushed into that situation. Iran, in that environment, never had any aggressive politics, and when Saddam Hussein attacked Iran, he was supported by the rest of the world. However, they learned the strength of our country and our people because we defended ourselves. The plans and suggestions coming from other countries, we can take them into consideration in the following weeks, but under the condition that Iran has its interests respected. In that case, we can continue the talks.
When talking about the interests and the position of Iran in the region, the fact is that Iranian military units are participating in the war in Syria, aiding the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Hezbollah, which had an extraordinary result in the Lebanon election, has ties to Iran. Are you prepared to discuss these matters within perhaps some new framework which would come to be if the 2015 agreement is discussed on a different basis?
If Iran is present in Syria, it is by invitation from the legitimate Syrian government. The question is how others came to Syria, without invitation, and are now oppressing the Syrian people. They are responsible. We went to provide help, and Iran’s help was, and will be, very useful, efficient, and humanitarian. We have helped the Iraqi armed forces to expel ISIS from Iraq. And in the spirit of re-establishing stability and peace, we have gone nowhere without being invited. Hezbollah won in a democratic atmosphere with the help of the people of Lebanon, and the accusations against Hezbollah are obviously aimed at disturbing the balance, the opinions of the people. In this way they are ruining Hezbollah’s reputation. We (Iran) do not act inhumanely, we are not arrogant, we are not like some other countries, regardless of our power. That power is the power of the people.
We heard the rhetoric of Israel, and the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is today, interestingly, the special guest of the Russian president Putin at the Victory Day military parade in Moscow. What could be the development of relations between Tehran and the Israeli government in the future? From the outside, it looks as if the situation is constantly on the verge of escalating, which could, according to some, envelop more than the two countries.
Iran is a country with a long history, and all our resources, and all our abilities, are in the spirit of humanitarian, and humane, goals. It is natural that we have established relations, according to our interests and within our humane framework, with all countries where there are no tensions. Even the countries which have shown animosity, we have forgiven them, and we recognise them. However, what you have mentioned is not a legitimate government at all, it is a false regime. If that were a legitimate government, it would be possible to discuss that (relations).
Yesterday, our Deputy Prime Minister Martina Dalic was in Tehran. After a very successful visit of your Exterior Minster to Croatia, the opening of many opportunities for, above all, an economic cooperation, in spite of the issues with money operations, in what way, and can you see Croatia, as a EU member, with its own economic interests and considering its heritage from the former country (Yugoslavia), as a moderator in the talks between Brussels and Tehran?
Croatia is our friend, Iran was one of the first countries to recognise its independence, and in the last 30 years we have had good growth in terms of economic cooperation. There are grounds to expand that cooperation – as you mentioned, the Croatian Deputy Prime Minister was in Iran – she achieved good results in those talks. Naturally, we expect the same from our friends, the countries of the EU: to fulfill their obligations, and their role on the international scene. In any case, Croatia is a EU member, and certainly can, to its best ability, play its part, and the EU has taken very good stances so far in favour of maintaining the Iran agreement. If it can decide on this independently, the conditions will definitely be good for the future.
Ambassador Sadegh, thank you for the talk.