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Iran Leading Groundbreaking Effort to Fight Against Extremism

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Iran Review’s Exclusive Interview with Teresita Quintos Deles
By: Kourosh Ziabari

The advisor to the President of Philippines believes that Iran’s efforts to fight against violence and extremism are truly important and significant, given the geo-strategic position of Iran in the Middle East as a turbulent region endangered by different terrorist groups.

Teresita Quintos Deles says Iran is among the first nations that have started serious attempts to address the concern of terrorism and extremism in the region.

Quintos Deles is the Filipino Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. She has been serving in the government of Benigno Aquino III since July 2010. She is the co-founder of the International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance. From 2001 to 2003, she has also been the Lead Convener and Secretary General of the National Anti Poverty Commission. Deles has also cooperated with the United Nations as an expert member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Iran Review did a brief interview with Ms. Deles on the sidelines of the First International Conference on a World Against Violence and Extremism on December 9, 2014. What follows is the text of the interview.

Q: Firstly, what do you think about the importance of the conference being held here and the fact that Iran has taken up an initiative to fight against terrorism and extremism? How much importance do you attach to the role of Iran in fighting extremism in the world and the fact that Iran is now at epicenter of international efforts made by scholars, intellectuals and politicians to make this happen?

A: I think it’s very important and certainly very significant considering where it is, considering its prominence in the Islamic world, considering that it is in fact surrounded by the countries that are most troubled by the problem of terrorism. I appreciate every country’s efforts to keep right to bring people together, to look for solutions. I think Iran, being among the first countries to do this, is very significant. It represents a country that is leading to break ground on an issue that is certainly very significant to the entire world.

Q: In fighting against terrorism and extremism, which option do you give the priority to: the military option or diplomacy? How is it possible for the world nations to tackle the crisis that has emerged in the region by the rise of ISIS?

A: I think it’ll need a comprehensive approach; diplomacy by itself, I think can’t resolve the problem. So, when there is discussion about the interfaith dialog, there is a discussion about improving the ground on which extremism may thrive, which includes development initiatives, certainly that must be followed.

Q: So, regarding the foreign intervention in the Middle East, what role have the foreign powers played in the fomentation of unrest in the region? Is it really possible to form a coalition led by the United States, NATO and other military organizations to fight such problems as the growth of ISIS?

A: I think you need innovative approaches; NATO has been there, and clearly it is not sufficient because we still have the problem; in fact, some were saying they are part of the problem. I think maybe it needs the efforts which encourage ordinary people standing up and saying exactly what their options are. Of course it has to be translated into a political option and a political force to make leaderships listen and especially to make world powers listen. But the role they can play cannot be ignored. But regarding the national consensus, I think we cannot ignore that. We cannot do away without working on national consensus, go and just talk about what the world powers are doing when a nation is divided. Divided people are easy to manipulate.

Key Words: Iran, Fight Against Extremism, Terrorism, Military Option, Diplomacy, Foreign Intervention, Middle East, United States, NATO, ISIS, Quintos Deles

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