Iran's 11th Presidential Election (No. 4): Relations with United States

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Viewpoints of Some Iranian Presidential Hopefuls on Relations with United States

The question about future prospects of Iran's relations with the United States is regularly posed to prospective candidates for the forthcoming 11th presidential polls in Iran. Although the final policies to be pursued by the Iranian government on this issue will be determined by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, it is still worthwhile to review the viewpoints of the presidential hopefuls on this issue as well.


Gholamali Haddad Adel

We expect the United States to be realistic and give up it enmity [toward Iran]. If the United States appears logical in negotiations [over Iran's nuclear energy program], then the nuclear issue can be resolved.

Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi

The principles of Iran's foreign policy are part of the Islamic establishment’s general policies, which are determined by the Leader. According to the [Iranian] Constitution, the Leader should formulate and notify the general policies after which they should be implemented and followed by the executive bodies. By the way, the Leader has already explained and announced his views on this issue. Of course, I believe that under the present circumstances, negotiations with the United States cannot solve any of our problems and more than being in our benefit, would be to the benefit of the United States. However, under acceptable conditions, which would pave the way for the realization of our interests, we can enter into negotiations with the United States. Otherwise, a long process of negotiations may actually stall our progress [in various fields] and restrict the free maneuvering room of the Islamic Republic, and we will practically get nothing out of such negotiations. We must first know what we are going to give and take through negotiations. I personally believe that there is no need for us to be always fighting with the United States. We have the capacity to meet our interests with the United States, but this needs acumen and foresight.

Mohammad Reza Bahonar

According to the 20-Year Perspective Plan, Iran should be a developed country with positive interaction with all countries in the world, except for Israel, which we do not consider legitimate. We have serious conflict of interests with some countries which cannot be resolved. We are a Muslim state and we are sensitive about the situation of Muslims, Shias and the issue of terrorism. The United States is not sensitive about these issues and may also have an approach to them quite opposite to our approach. Therefore, it [the United States] applies double standards to these issues and this problem cannot be solved now and will not be solved in the future as well. We have suffered a heavy cost because of this [conviction], which we accept to incur, and will continue to accept that cost for the sake of our principles and [religious] beliefs. Of course, nobody has the right to increase the costs suffered by the country through misbehavior and [the use of] inappropriate rhetoric. The United States is currently hiding its steel claws under satin gloves. The United States invites [Iran] to talks at a time that it [imposes sanctions on Iran and] prevents export of pharmaceuticals to Iran. However, if there is to be fair talks and real interaction, we are ready to sit [at the negotiation table] and talk. But, if the United States seeks to meet its own interests by changing social behavior of our people, it means illegal interference in internal affairs of a country which has decided to remain independent.

Manouchehr Mottaki

If the United States does not continue its sedition [against Iran], negotiations would be possible, provided that the United States has actually made this decision [to give up sedition]. I don’t believe that relations with the United States should be cut forever and our basic decision is not to oppose [all forms of] negotiations. At any rate, the government of the United States is legitimate and legal and is nothing like Israel, which is not legitimate. [However,] there is a thick dossier [of differences] between Iran and the United States, which has started by [the military] coup d’état of August 19, [1953,] and has seen many ups and downs up to this day. Negotiations have their own conditions. Both sides should be ready; that is, their behavior should allow for [engagement in] negotiations. He [the US President Barack Obama] who still thinks that pressures can leave their mark on the Iranian people, is not worthy of negotiations. The United States should first understand that its strategy of pressure on Iran will not be effective.

Yahya Al-e Eshaq

We must have logical interaction with the world and do not isolate ourselves. It is possible to have logical interaction while protecting [the country’s] national interests. Of course, the enemy, on the other hand, should stop its enmity toward us. We must enter into international relations totally on the basis of a win-win game. Our red lines in the foreign policy are well-defined.

Mohsen Rezaei

Under present circumstances, the Americans will not accept to give any concessions to Iran. I don’t believe that the United States is waiting for [the result of] the [presidential] election because they know that there is a political system in Iran and when it comes to foreign policy, the final decision is made by the Leader. Domestic progress depends on having relations [with other countries] and the Americans are waiting to see the impact of sanctions on Iran. If we resist against the sanctions, they will change the form of the negotiations.

Mohammad Saeedi-Kia

[The issue of] negotiations with the United States is among the [Iranian] government’s general policies and the Leader should [first] give his opinion on this issue as he has the last say on this issue. The president should always keep pace with the Leader and help him to solve problems. Perhaps an official may have a different viewpoint from that of the Leader, but he should talk to the Leader and accept his opinion as the last say.

Ali Akbar Velayati

The Leader has already announced his position on the issue of negotiations between Iran and the United States and that position has been proclaimed several times. The last instance was during the Leader’s speech in [the city of] Mashhad on March 21, [2013,] when the Leader took position on this issue. Our conditions are the same as the Leader stated in his address on March 21. [On the other hand,] it is not appropriate to use the word “taboo” for this issue and even if some other people have already used it, we should not follow suit with them. Taboo is something which people try to keep away from and, in fact, symbolizes impossibility of change. It denotes that some people are illogically sticking to a belief. We use taboo in such cases. Therefore, if we use the world “taboo” in relation to negotiations with the United States, it means that the Islamic Republic of Iran is not following a logical policy in this regard. As a result, we must not apply the word “taboo” to this issue.

Hassan Rohani

Relations with the United States are different from relations with other countries because since the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the United States has been pursuing a hostile policy toward the Islamic Republic. [However,] under suitable conditions and if [Iran's] national interests call for it, negotiations [with the United States] can happen with the permission of the Leader.

Source: Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA)
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

*Iran's 11th Presidential Election (No. 3): Notes on Elections in Iran

*Iran's 11th Presidential Election (No. 2): Political Array of Iran Presidential Election

*Iran's 11th Presidential Election (No. 1): Facts and Figures