RHODES, Greece – US and EU sanctions against Tehran are hurting the economic interests of Europe and Iran, leading the latter to forge closer relations with Russia and China, a former deputy foreign minister of Iran, told New Europe.
Speaking on the sidelines of the “Dialogue of Civilizations” forum in Rhodes on September 28, Gholamali Khoshroo, said there is “a good relationship” between Tehran and Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani for the second time in the last month during a summit of Caspian Sea regional leaders in the city of Astrakhan on September 29.
Khoshroo confirmed that “discussions have been done” with Russia concerning buying Iranian oil which is under sanctions. “Americans have imposed unilateral sanctions,” he said. “If a country like Russia or China wanted to buy Iranian oil nobody can impose sanctions on them because of this,” he said.
“They [sanctions] are detrimental to the economic wellbeing of Europe particularly because our relationship with Russia or with China is improving in the economic field and it is Europe that is the main loser of this situation,” Khoshroo said.
“Europe understands their own interests and they should convince America to put aside pressure of unilateral sanctions and pressure against independent countries. America should put this aside because Europe is following America,” he said.
Khoshroo said that he is optimistic that sanctions will gradually be lifted, helping Europe overcome its economic crisis. “Look at the situation here in Greece. Greece was one of the buyers of Iranian oil and now because of American pressure it has stopped and the same for Italy and the same for Spain and other countries. They’re putting themselves in a difficult position,” he said.
He noted that nuclear negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 have continued “and they should commit themselves how they will lift these sanctions”. “Our negotiation has moved ahead but still it has not reached a final agreement that everybody can be happy,” he said.
Tehran and the six countries have until November 24 to reach common ground on a number of key issues. “I’m cautiously optimistic that they will reach that agreement. But still, Iran is saying, ‘Okay, if Europe or America or others are concerned about the nature of Iranian nuclear programme, we’re ready to show and to be transparent as much as possible, to be open to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] and also to provide objective guarantees that these programmes are being peaceful and will remain peaceful and then there is no justification for other countries to stop others to exercise their rights,” Khoshroo said.
The former deputy foreign minister of Iran said Rouhani’s policy toward the world or towards the West is “constructive engagement,” striving to remove misunderstandings about Iran’s role in the region, relations with its neighbours and Tehran’s international role. “If this political situation goes ahead as President Rouhani wants, then it paves the way for better economic relations,” he said, adding that Iran has huge oil and gas reserves that it can export to the world. “The need for gas, for energy in Europe and in East Asia is developing. They need very stable resources – that is Iran,” Khoshroo said.
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