Iran seeks peace

By Lu Wen'ao Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/6 22:18:39

Closer cooperation expected as Rouhani enters second term


Ebrahim Rahimpour, Iran's deputy foreign minister for Asia and Oceania affairs Photo: Courtesy of Iranian Embassy

Editor's Note:

Following Hasan Rouhani's successful bid for a second term as President of Iran last month, Global Times (GT) reporter Lu Wen'ao talked to Ebrahim Rahimpour (Rahimpour), Iran's deputy foreign minister for Asia and Oceania affairs, on multiple issues concerning Iran, including Rouhani's second term as well as Iran's response to US President Donald Trump's recent remarks.

GT: President Rouhani won the reelection last month. Can we expect any policy changes in his second term?

Rahimpour: In the second term Dr Hasan Rouhani is expected that he will pay special attention to the needs and requests of the Iranian people.

In the first term of his presidency, we successfully reached an agreement with P5+1 on the nuclear issue, although there is a gap between the reality and expectation of the Iranian people for the solving of economy problems after reaching the agreement.

In the first term, we provided security to the Iranian people without any increase of the defense budget whereas the Middle East is generally full of different crises. We also successfully forged the foundation of civil rights and freedom of the Iranian people.

All in all, in the first term of Dr Rouhani presidency we could handle in the best way three issues: social welfare, security and civil rights, and freedom of Iranians.

We think that in the second term, there will remain three expectations including the promotion of economy, job creation and welfare of Iranian people on the main agenda working of state.

In addition, the turbulent external environment of Iran has been put at risk for military actions by some countries, so security improvement will be a concern of the government of Iran.

A supporter of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani holds a picture of Rouhani as she waves an Iranian flag ahead of the Iranian presidential election in Tehran on May 15. Photo: IC

GT
: Both Iran and the US have received criticism on the Joint ­Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, the nuclear deal), however there doesn't seem to be a better alternative currently. How would you address this?

Rahimpour: The JCPOA has been ­accepted by the world. The JCPOA will be alive in the future but we expect the pace of progress should be accelerated by all parties to the agreement, especially our Chinese friends.

We believe the world will agree on JCPOA but we think some countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel and Trump personally don't want to agree with it.

Now we believe that our situation has changed from before and we are able to shape the area.

We are not completely satisfied with the pace of progress of the agreement and we think it should be accelerated by other parties of the agreement.

GT: The Trump ­Administration took swipes at Iran during his visit to the Middle East in May, accusing Iran of supporting terrorists. What's your opinion on this?

Rahimpour: Trump visited Saudi Arabia [in May] and as a businessman, he made a deal to supply military equipment to Saudi Arabia for approximately $110 billion.

I don't think that anyone has forgotten who was behind the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US.

Even regarding IS, there is no doubt who is weaponizing this ­terrorist group. So it's natural for a person like Trump as a businessman to contact with Saudi Arabia to get money.

We think that the situation with Saudi Arabia is not reasonable, especially in Yemen that is facing a critical situation.

GT: The US launched the so-called Mother of All Bombs in Afghanistan in April. Is the missile launching a concern for Iran?

Rahimpour: We think Trump is going to expand all domestic affairs of the US to other parts of the world. 

He has claimed that the cost of the security of the world should not be on the shoulders of US; rather that  all countries in the world must pay their share by themselves.

Even Trump requested it from Japan as a close ally to the US, saying that if you want to provide the security for yourself, you have to pay its costs by yourself.

The US has many military equipment and bases in Afghanistan; if Trump wants to maximize security in Afghanistan, he has to pay more money and ask the new government of Afghanistan to provide security by itself.

Maintaining the US presence in Afghanistan may provide pretext for the excuse of foreign forces in the country starting the fight in ­Afghanistan.

The naïve posture of the US in the region is not fruitful for security in the region. We believe that Americans will disagree with new fighting at the expense of their children.

GT: People are calling for the denuclearization of Iran and we also have seen the world calling for the denuclearization of Korean Peninsula. What's Iran's stance on this?

Rahimpour: Generally we agree and support the denuclearization in the rest of the world, not only in the Korean Peninsula, but also in Israel.

We are in line with China on the Korean Peninsula crisis.

In this regard we think that two key issues should be considered: the disarmament in the region, and pulling back of foreign forces, especially the US troops, from the region.



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