JCPOA Proves Disputes Can Be Resolved Through Diplomacy

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and the P5+1 proved that regional disputes can be resolved through diplomacy.

“Regionally I think it sends a message that if we can resolve that something everybody thought was impossible to resolve, with countries who were - obviously at least Iran and the United States - were hostile for at least 37 years, then there's no impediment in resolving regional issues,” Zarif said.

Zarif said that regional nations, “who're bound by a common region, common faith, common history, common culture, common values,” can “work together to address a very serious challenge in our region, and that is the challenge of extremism.”

The top Iranian diplomat said that through the nuclear agreement, the Iranian nation’s right to peaceful nuclear technology has been restored “because our nuclear program was always for peaceful purposes.”

“I think the deal is not a perfect deal. No deal is ever perfect. But it deals with our requirement, that is removal of sanctions and at the same time respecting our right to have our nuclear program for peaceful purposes, because our nuclear program was always for peaceful purposes,” he said.

Zarif further expressed Iran’s preparedness “to show even greater transparency in order for the International Community to know what we already know, that our program is nothing but peaceful.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister has also condemned the "illegal" US sanctions against Tehran over its missile program, saying the move shows Washington’s "addiction to coercion."

“We believe these sanctions are uncalled for. We believe the sanctions are illegal. They violate basic principles,” Zarif said.

“It shows that the United States has an addiction which has been very difficult for it to overcome,” Zarif said, specifying “its addiction to pressure, addiction to coercion, addiction to sanctions.”

Zarif said the prospect of restoring bilateral diplomatic relations between Tehran and Washington is “far away” despite the landmark nuclear deal.

“Despite lingering tensions between Iran and the United States, despite the nuclear deal', Zarif said, “the United States can take steps to overcome this mistrust.”

Pointing to Saudi Arabia’s expression of concerns about Iran’s nuclear deal, Zarif said, “Since the agreement in Geneva in 2013, our Saudi neighbors have been panicking. There is no need to panic, our friends. Iran is there to work with you. Iran does not want to exclude anybody from this region. There is no need to engage in a confrontation.”

Iranian Foreign Minister also said the Islamic Republic does not seek any tensions with Saudi Arabia, and that the two Muslim countries can coexist peacefully.

“We believe that Iran and Saudi Arabia can be two important players, who can accommodate each other, who can complement each other in the region," he said.

"We don’t expect, or we’re not interested even, in pushing Saudi Arabia out of this region, because Saudi Arabia is an important player in this region,” Zarif said.

“Unfortunately, the Saudis have had the illusion that backed by their Western allies, they could push Iran out of the equation in the region,” the minister added.

Zarif said Saudi leaders are worried by a diplomatic breakthrough in the decade-long standoff between Iran and the West over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

“Saudis are panicking that there may be a slight opportunity that tensions between Iran and the West would reduce, and the smoke screen that had allowed them to export this Wahhabi ideology of extremism” can be removed, he said.

Zarif said Saudi rulers have to accept Iran's role and stop "panicking."

“We were always in the community of nations. Now their allies have recognized that Iran is a serious partner,” the Iranian foreign minister said, in reference to the US and EU which were part of the nuclear negotiating sides.

“We do not have a fight to pick with Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, the fact is the instability in our region is caused by a panicking Saudi Arabia that believes that there is an equilibrium in our region after the fall of (slain Iraqi dictator) Saddam Hussein and after the Arab Spring.”

The Iranian foreign minister further dismissed any military solution to the devastating crisis in Syria, saying the conflict must be settled through diplomatic means.

“There is no military solution to the Syrian crisis. We need a political solution,” he said.

He said that a ceasefire in Syria was needed before a national unity government could be formed and elections based on a new constitution held.

“We are determined to provide every contribution and encouragement that we can in order to bring people to the negotiating table. I think what is necessary to make sure is that those who believe that there is a military solution are also brought to their senses and brought to the negotiating table,” he said.

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