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JCPOA Objective, Destroying Notorious Wall of Siege

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the main objective that Tehran was pursuing in signing the nuclear agreement with the P5+1 group of countries was to lift “the siege” that "ill-wishers" had imposed on the Islamic Republic.  

"The ill-wishers of this nation had managed to lay a siege around us and the objective of the nuclear agreement was to destroy this 'notorious wall'," Rouhani said.

He was referring to Iran-P5+1 nuclear agreement dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Rouhani said the JCPOA implementation was the removal of "unjust" sanctions in order to provide "better livelihood" to Iranians.

Rouhani said before the agreement entered into force, even "friends and neighbors" of Iran refused to buy an extra barrel of oil or do business with Tehran.

"The JCPOA has created new conditions for us which we have to take advantage of," he added.

Rouhani said the country must take measures to wean the economy off petrodollars.

“Even if oil prices increase in the future we should not move towards dependence on oil revenues for running the country,” he said.

“We have to take steps towards giving up the dangerous addiction of the economy’s full dependence on oil,” said Rouhani.   

President Hassan Rouhani also said Iran does not want to become a “domineering power” in the region but it would punish any country which tried to harm its national interests.

“If any country seeks to deal a blow to our national interests, we will respond. However, we hope it doesn’t get there,” he said.

“If needed, we will respond decisively to certain behaviors of some countries. If necessary, we will give a punishing response to the opposite side,” he added.

Rouhani said, “We hope regional countries would consider interests of the region. We are not looking to become a domineering power in the region.”

“We are looking to a region which is proud and powerful. We would like all regional countries, especially our neighbors and the regional Muslims, to live together in peace and work toward development and prosperity.”

Rouhani said Iran does not seek tensions with its neighbors.

“However, some neighboring countries have behaved very badly and shown immaturity in their behavior, which does not comply with brotherhood and being a Muslim; neither with the history of ties between two countries,” he said.

Rouhani said, “Iran is a forgiving nation and if these countries own up to their mistakes someday and abandon creating tensions in the region and make up for their mistakes, it will forgive them.”

The president also made a reference to Syria, saying Iran is ready to help in any possible way establish ceasefire and peace in the country.

“Our aim is to help the regional countries get rid of their problems in the face of terrorists. We regard combating terrorists as one of the prerequisites of stability in the region,” Rouhani said.

“Unfortunately, certain countries, whether knowingly or unknowingly, are helping terrorism. We want territorial integrity of all the regional countries to be protected and no disintegration to take place.”

Rouhani said Iran is also ready to mediate between Russia and Turkey and help them resolve their diplomatic tensions.

“We have good relations both with Russia and Turkey. Both are good neighbors for us and tensions between them are very dangerous,” he said.

“We will employ all our efforts to de-escalate tensions because tensions will benefit neither those countries nor the region,” Rouhani said.

“Certain countries, however, are unfortunately trying to stoke tensions among others with the illusion that tensions would benefit them. But tensions will not benefit any country in the region,” he added.   

The Iranian foreign minister also said Saudi Arabia must drop its hostile policies against the Islamic Republic.

“Saudi Arabia has been pursuing hostile policies against Iran. The Saudi government should reconsider its policies,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

He noted that Iran has never been looking for “tensions of any kind” with its neighbors, Saudi Arabia in particular. 

Zarif further reiterated Iran's calls for “rational behavior” on the part of the Saudi government.

The Iranian minister also said the execution of prominent cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr last month by the Saudi regime was unacceptable, adding that the religious scholar had not committed any act against Saudi national security.

He also said that the ensuing attack against the Saudi embassy in Tehran, which led to the severance of ties between Tehran and Riyadh, was “against our national security.” Iranian officials strongly condemned the attacks on the Saudi diplomatic missions, with over 100 people arrested.

“However, the Saudi policy has been hostile in this regard…We recommend Saudi Arabia to abandon haste wrath and opt for wisdom,” said Zarif.   

Zarif referred to ongoing peace talks in Geneva on Syria, saying “terrorists” and those aiding “extremist” groups in the Arab country must not be allowed to join the negotiations.

“Such action will discredit the UN and the talks,” he warned.

The Iranian foreign minister also reiterated Tehran’s position that no external factor could decide for the future of Syria.

“Those who had laid out preconditions for negotiations in Syria caused war and bloodletting,” Zarif said.

*Photo Credit: New York Post, ISNA

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