Tehran’s Political Maneuvers Isolate Tel Aviv

06 February 2014 | 22:48 Code : 1928399 Interview General category
An interview with Dr. Ali Khorram, a foreign policy expert and a former Iranian representative in international organizations
Tehran’s Political Maneuvers Isolate Tel Aviv

What did Iran achieve at the Munich Security Conference?

The Munich Conference is a security conference wherein important countries which play key roles in different regions and the world gather to discuss about regional and global security. The security of some regions including the Middle East is significant for the entire world. It can be said from this aspect that if security is provided in the Middle East, security will be provided in the whole world and vice versa. On one hand, the issue which has attracted the attention of the world during recent years is radical terrorism in the Middle East, the source of which at the present time is Syria and is spread to Europe and the US. Many of the recruitments are done in the US and Europe and the operations of the radical groups have not only been spread to the Middle East but also to the north, center and south of Africa. Therefore, the main issue of the Munich Conference which has caused concerns is the insecurity in the Middle East. This is the only conference wherein countries could discuss this matter because generally the officials in charge of the national and political security of countries are present in this conference. In such an atmosphere, discussing the issues which are either related to Iran or are proposed by Iran is important. That is why the Geneva Agreement had special importance in this conference and all members of this conference attempted to prevent the breakage of this agreement. Why? Because if this agreement breaks, it will affect the security of the world. Thus, one of the concerns in the Munich Conference, besides the issue of terrorism in the Middle East, is stability in the Geneva Agreement between Iran and the P5+1. That is why the role played by Mrs. Ashton and her influence could be considered. Apart from the details, the Geneva Agreement in general must bring security to the world. Meanwhile, the ministers of countries such as the US and Britain made certain attempts under the shadow of which some ideas of the Munich Conference were formed. On the other hand, when a country asks investors to enter it, that would mean that security is established in that country and it seeks security inside the country and in its surrounding countries. Iran is also located in the Middle East. Therefore, separate from the economic appearance of the issue, its nature has a security identity. Therefore, all issues are affected by regional and world security. Perhaps it was the first time for Iran after 8 years that the issue of security and its significance in the security of the region and the world was proposed. This issue could pave the way for Iran’s foreign policy.

Part of Mr. Zarif’s speech in this conference was related to the outlook of the Europeans towards Iran and encouraging European countries to return to Iran. Will these moves and positions lead to the creation of a rift in the US-Europe opposition front against Iran?

I do not like to look at this issue from this angle. Instead of creating a rift, what Mr. Zarif proposed could strengthen the supporters of Iran in the US and Europe. We do not seek to destroy a front or create a rift; we rather intend to strengthen the front of those people who believe in the future and Iran’s role in the Middle East and the world. Through strengthening them, we could have a stable foreign policy. We can have more supporters in Europe and change Europe’s view of Iran into a stable and secure one. It should be the same in the US as well. This issue could isolate radicals and strengthen those who believe in the expansion of relations.

Some diplomats believe that Iran’s diplomacy team should have talked about the security of the Persian Gulf in the Munich Conference instead of talking about the nuclear issue. Was there an opportunity for Iran to discuss this issue in the conference or not?

Right now there is a bipolar atmosphere in the Persian Gulf. One pole includes the Islamic Republic of Iran and countries like Oman and the other pole is Saudi Arabia which attempts to instigate other countries against Iran. If we succeed in implementing the Geneva Agreement, the Saudis’ attempts to bipolarize the Persian Gulf will lose its effects and if everybody cooperates, then the security of the Persian Gulf will be provided. Basically, the security of the Persian Gulf will automatically be provided.

There were some protesting moves in this conference especially by the Arab states which left the conference during Mr. Zarif’s speech while Israel’s Defense Minister sat in the front row. Previously, the opposite always happened. What is the reason behind the measure taken by the Arab countries and by Israel?

Unfortunately the path that Saudi Arabia is taking indicates that this country, more than being concerned about Iran, is concerned about the US foreign policy. US foreign policy has been set to give importance to the playing countries in the region: such as the Islamic Republic of Iran. The reason is that if the US decides to leave the Middle East, this region is better to be stable. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is unhappy about this issue. Until yesterday, Saudi Arabia was the favorite country without any expense but if any change is being made then Saudi Arabia’s role will decrease to the level of only an oil-exporting country and Iran’s role will increase. Now if Iran succeeds in playing a positive role in the region and the Arab countries leave their idea of being the favorite countries in the Middle East, then they can be partners and together play significant roles. But if Saudi Arabia decides to go its separate way and react negatively to Iran, its negative reaction would be directed towards the US. Saudi Arabia attempts to instigate Iranophobia in order to prevent the US from becoming close to Iran. During the past 3 years, Saudi Arabia has benefited from the hostility between Iran and the US. There is also a shift in Israel’s front. Netanyahu has always propagated Iranophobia but he is isolated inside his own country. Inside Israel, when the officials do not correlate between Netanyahu’s ideas and the interests of this regime and believe that his insistence on Iranophobia will not only lead to cooperation between Iran and the US but also disclose their trick and separate them from the US, then they distance themselves from the Prime Minister and move towards realism. They believe that if Iran’s nuclear activities are proven to be peaceful and the period of confidence-building has been passed, Israel will be left alone and all of its ideals will be destroyed. Therefore, Israel must coordinate with the global trend and not show its past anger. Iran has shown that it has entered the implementing stage with the world and the only unsuccessful country will be Israel.

Of course, we must not make conclusions from the decision made by Israel’s Defense Minister with regard to sitting in the conference or leaving the session because Israel might decide to leave the conference at another time. Netanyahu’s radicalism is losing its effects because it is not accepted by the majority. This is while Netanyahu was on the front line of taking positions against Iran during the last years of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s presidency. The more Iran advances in the Geneva Agreement, the more Israel will be pressured. Israel will be disarmed in its propagation against Iran.

Issues were proposed during the Conference which could have been avoided through the right diplomatic approach including the issue of human rights. Although Iran introduces the US and Europe as violators of human rights, experts believe that Iran should not have led the issued towards this direction.

The issue of human rights is among the necessities of good governance in the world. It is now more than 15 years that the world has assumed an ideal for itself which all countries are supposed to reach and that is good governance. In this governance, the economy should be transparent, successful and developing, illiteracy must be abolished and the death rates should be decreased. All options of development plus human rights exist in good governance. The relations between the people, people with the government and the government with the people must be transparent and good. There is no escape for us to refuse to answer certain questions. When we express our opinions about the others and give grades to them, such as commenting about the human rights situation in the US and Europe, we must expect others to express their opinion about us as well. The world has changed and is now inseparable. One cannot say that you are a developed country and at the same time the issue of human rights can be ignored. They are intertwined. Good governance, which has become the ideal of all countries and is talked about, is based on respecting the rights of citizens. We have proposed the issue of citizens’ rights and intend to respect their rights. If they ask us, we can present our answers and state that we have made progress in Iran and intend to make progress in this regard as well. If we approach these issues such as the human rights issue with transparency, then we can hope to have the cooperation of the western countries in issues such as investment, technology, and new methods of management. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund can help a country when the components of development and human rights have grown together.

On the sidelines of this conference, Mr. Zarif called the Holocaust a humanitarian crime in an interview. This view was rejected by the previous administration in Iran. What impact would making such a statement have on the outlook of the countries especially Germany as a regional power in Europe?

The issue of the Holocaust is accepted in the world as a fact in the world and in history. It means that such an incident has occurred. Some of the survivors of the Holocaust are still alive. The issue might have been exaggerated or used for propaganda. But searching about this issue must not lead us to ignore the more important issue. It is like one claiming that Alexander of Macedonia did not set Persepolis on fire at that time. This is meaningless. This is a historical fact. We cannot deny what has happened during WWII and the ovens which existed for burning human beings. That is why we do not lose anything by mentioning a historical event. We say that we condemn the burning of any Muslim, Jew or Christian in an oven. Now if such a thing has happened, then we condemn it. If some prove that this incident has not happened, then our statement still stands correct. We confess to the brutality of this action. As we condemned the culprits of the twin towers in New York where many people lost their lives. Now the issue of the righteousness of the US policy is another issue. The killing of innocent people is not related to this matter. The impact of this issue on the world is that we do not deny the facts. Iran’s energy must not be consumed over this issue. It must be consumed over issues which would help the development, construction and national security of our country.

tags: iran saudi arabia munich human rights israel geneva

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