Iranophobia Reaching its End

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says efforts by his administration have resulted in the weakening of Iranophobia, saying attempts to portray Iran as a threat are now falling flat.

“Iran is now being known as a peace-seeking country in the world… Iranophobia is in very dire conditions; it is nearing its death despite efforts to resuscitate it,” the president said.

President Rouhani said his administration, now half way through its term, has sought to avoid causing social gaps and to narrow existing ones.

The administration made efforts to soothe the market, contain the spiraling inflation, and end stagnation, he said.

The economic record of the administration, he said, has been an acceptable one despite such issues as the sharp fall in oil prices – from over 100 dpb to almost 40 dpb – and regional security concerns, which he said affect all countries as the world states are interconnected in terms of how they impact each other.

President Rouhani also said his administration has taken unprecedented steps to address the issue of water scarcity in the country.

Regarding the balance between “resistance economy” and the inflow of foreign businesses in order to avoid a situation where Iran is flooded by foreign goods and services, the Iranian president said the administration has been clear that, following the removal of the sanctions, it will want foreign countries to export investment and technology to Iran.

“A section of the Iranian market will be theirs and a section of the world market will be ours…; the commodities we need should be provided through revenues from non-oil exports; oil revenues must be confined to usage for investment,” he said.

President Rouhani also highlighted the significance of the young – particularly educated – generation in Iran. He said he believed the young Iranian generation, whether residing in Iran or abroad, are hopeful about the country.

Specifically, he said the administration has taken measures to reverse the brain drain trend through “knowledge-based firms,” under which many experts return to Iran on a monthly basis.

On the subject of submitting the recent agreement between Iran and the P5+1 to the Parliament for a vote, President Rouhani said that, under the Iranian Constitution, a treaty has to be submitted for approval or disapproval to the Parliament if it has been signed by the president or a representative of his.

That is not the case about the Iran-P5+1 agreement – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iranian president said.

He said the submission of the JCPOA to the Parliament would mean that the president would have to sign the JCPOA, an extra legal commitment that the administration has already avoided.

President Rouhani also expressed confidence that the implementation of the agreement would not restrict the Islamic Republic’s defense capabilities.

Iran "will not accept any limits" on its military capacities, he said.

The Iranian president also said that all regional countries are well aware of the fact that Tehran “has not and will not be after nuclear weapons,” stressing that Iran has been seeking better relations with all regional countries. 

Regarding the Iran-Saudi relations, President Rouhani said that his administration has repeatedly announced “we are after better ties with Saudi Arabia” but certain issues, including the Riyadh regime’s military aggression against Yemen, have impeded the improvement of relations.    

He also urged the leaders of regional countries to stop interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries.

The Iranian president also said the “shadow of threat” against the country does not hang over it anymore.

The excuses that in the eyes of international law could be used for military aggression against Iran have been removed today, he said.

President Rouhani, however, stressed that Iran should stand ready for any potential threats and should boost its deterrence power, arguing that threats always exist though they may have scaled down today.

The speaker of Iran's parliament Ali Larijani said the Islamic Republic has proven to the world that the weapon of force and bullying is no longer effective.

Some big powers tried to bring the Iranian nation to its knees, but the great Iranian nation stood against force by choosing the course of resistance and steadfastness and emerged victorious, he said.

By so doing, the Iranian nation showed that the weapon of force and bullying is old and ineffective and has lost its effectiveness and power of influence, the official noted.

In today’s world, some powers still believe that they can attain their political goals by resorting to force, pressure, and sanctions, he said.

Larijani said “The main question to be discussed at this session should be ‘is democracy really at the service of peace and sustainable development in today’s world or not?’”

He said some governments, which purportedly seek democracy for their own peoples, support dictatorship and despotic and violent regimes in some countries and seek to establish democracy in others via bombs and machineguns.

“The same approaches are the begetters and causes of most warmongering in today’s world. The painful fate of the downtrodden Palestinian people, the belligerency of the Zionist regime of Israel,  war and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, the war in Yemen, and the five-year-long war in Syria can be cited here as examples,” Larijani said.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also said it will take some time for the economic impacts of the recent nuclear agreement between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 to unfold.

Following the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the sanctions will be removed over the next two or three months, but its impacts on the Iranian economy will take more time to appear, Zarif said, describing the agreement as a political, economic and cultural opportunity for Iran.

Iran’s top diplomat also stressed the country’s determination to boost its ties with regional countries after the recent breakthrough in nuclear talks, noting that the agreement could help remove serious threats against the region.

Those countries that viewed the nuclear agreement as a threat should reconsider their stance and stop their unconstructive measures, Zarif said.

The Iranian Foreign Minister has also emphasized the need for regional efforts against violence and extremism, saying it is in the interest of both Iran and Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism in the region.

The top Iranian diplomat called for concerted efforts by all regional countries to counter extremism and sectarianism.

He also expressed the Islamic Republic’s willingness to cooperate with regional players on the issue of terrorism, saying Tehran and Riyadh have a common interest in dealing with violence in the region.

Zarif referred to regional issues as a priority in Iran’s foreign policy and said, “The policy of comprehensive economic and security development for all regional countries is always on our agenda.”

Iran said it will start implementing the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) under the terms of its agreement with six world powers.

Iran will begin to implement the Additional Protocol “according to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” Iran's Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Reza Najafi said.

The Additional Protocol requires member states to provide an expanded declaration of their nuclear activities and grant the agency broader rights of access to their nuclear sites.

“When we are committed to notifying … the agency that Iran will provisionally implement the Additional Protocol it will be one of the elements and measures related to the implementation day” of the JCPOA, Najafi said.

“It depends on how we could reach the implementation day. It is not very clear; we don’t have any date for that. But, as soon as we reach the implementation day we will start to do so,” Najafi said.

Beyond the Additional Protocol and the safeguards agreement, he said, Iran will take "few” transparency measures related to “uranium mines and centrifuges workshops."

He further noted that the measures will be taken for a “limited period of time” and will be “just for the sake of transparency.”

Najafi also pointed to IAEA’s commitments regarding the confidentiality of information on Iran's nuclear program, saying, “Till now what we have witnessed is that the agency is fulfilling its obligation.”

“Till now regarding the preparatory process… we witnessed the support and I believe that overwhelming support of members of the IAEA especially those who were involved in the process is a good sign and we try to be optimistic and we will wait to see when the implementation day comes,” he added.

Najafi further noted that Iran is “in close contact with the agency”  about the documents clarifying past and present outstanding issues pertaining to its nuclear program.

Najafi also said Iran hopes for the “meaningful realization of fundamental shift” in the UN Security Council’s approach toward its nuclear dossier, following Resolution 2231 adopted in confirmation of JCPOA.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi said a working group is to be set up to design the Arak heavy water reactor.

“Since the issue of designing the the Arak reactor has been raised in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and China has been designated as Iran’s negotiating side in this regard, it is necessary to discuss the matter seriously with the Chinese side,” Salehi said.

He noted that in addition to China, the US will also be part of the task force on the Arak reactor, adding that other members of the P5+1 or countries outside the group like South Korea can also participate in the project if approved by the Islamic Republic and the other six countries.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the top Iranian official pointed to Sino-Iranian cooperation on small “multifaceted” 100-MW power stations, saying that the two sides are slated to finalize their negotiations during his trip.

Among the “outstanding features of these power stations are electricity generation, the production of industrial steam, and desalination,” Salehi said, expressing hope that the two countries will be able to sign a memorandum of understating in this respect.

Iran’s nuclear chief further described relations between Tehran and Beijing as “special,” saying Sino-Iranian ties have been promoted considerably in recent years, given the existing international situation.

The agreement clinched between Iran and six world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program has had numerous regional and international impacts, also said the country’s nuclear chief.

The agreement has influenced Iran and Western countries as well as the Middle East and the international community, said Director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).

Salehi went on to say that the agreement will bring about changes in political and international domains, and that the situation which existed before the agreement will not resurface.

On the sanctions imposed on Iran, Salehi said the bans put in place following the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran had been ramped up in recent years.

He said the reason was to, in the West’s words, paralyze Iran’s economy. However, he said, even a drop in the value of the Iranian currency failed to affect the nation on the home front.

Iran’s nuclear chief said discussions in the United States on a recent agreement between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 have thrown Washington into political turmoil.

“US officials have announced that if the JCPOA is rejected by the Congress and the president can't do anything [to prevent such an outcome], the global credibility of the US will be damaged, dollar will not be able to maintain its status, and the paradigm of the US foreign and domestic policy will change,” Salehi said.

The remarks by the Iranian nuclear chief come as the US Congress will vote on the agreement in September and most Republicans have opposed the agreement. President Barack Obama, however, has expressed confidence that “this deal will go forward.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, Salehi said that there are also challenges and different ideas on the JCPOA in Iran, adding that despite the differences “we will tread a path toward national interests and national sovereignty” under the guidance of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

“In this political challenge, the Islamic Republic has driven the opponent into a corner,” Salehi said, adding, “The Islamic Republic could gain the upper hand within a formulated framework and with reliance on dignity, expedience and the Leader’s wisdom.”  

He also said that the JCPOA will not slow down the country’s nuclear activities.

“Our nuclear activities have not been stopped or slowed down and we assure the great Iranian nation that our nuclear activities will move forward,” Salehi said.

Salehi further referred to “the limitations” stipulated in the JCPOA, sayiny they will not slow down the basis of Iran's nuclear activities, and they will be lifted once the two sides have taken trust-building measures.

He also said that Iran has told its negotiating partners that the country has never pursued non-civilian objectives in its nuclear program and will never do so.

*Photo Credit: ISNA, Press TV

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