Iranian perspective of ME, Afghanistan & other issues-I

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Ali Hosseini

Ambassador of Iran Ali Hosseini delivered this speech at the National Defence University. Here is the text of the speech.

At the outset, I would like to thank NDU officials especially   Lieutenant-General Muhammad Saeed honorable president of National Defense University,  For providing me this opportunity to be here and discuss different aspects of Iran – Pakistan relations.

I also seize the opportunity to congratulate Pakistan’s Defense day ” to the  brave, heroic and in a university that is concentrated on Defense issues has coincided with the defense day of your country. so accept my warm and cordial felicitation on such great day.

Regarding the depth and nature of relations between our countries, many issues can be elaborated in our today’s discussion. But with the aim of having a subject oriented lecture, I will try to classify my presentation in 5 parts:

  • The first subject is about the effects of evolving global and regional environment on Iran’s security:

After a long time working in the field of foreign affairs, I am brave enough to say that at least, in the last decades, no region in the world has been as chaotic as Middle East, Persian Gulf and West of Asia.

Not yet one crisis finished, another one arises. Not yet one misunderstanding dispelled, another creates. If someone asks why, hundreds of answers are presumed to be proposed- that are not actually the subject of our discussion today- but majority of them, will concentrate on the negative effects of foreign interventions on the ultimate security of our countries and our region.

So, knowing our region and its chaotic nature, we have learned how to cope with it and not let this environment cripple our bilateral relations with our neighbors.  In the other hand, we have learned how to turn the current challenges into now and then opportunities. For us, the best possible situation is the time that other countries in our neighborhood also join hands to reduce the negative side effects of these uninvited interventions.

To get more down to the nitty- gritty of the issue, I would like to focus on more challenging issues of our region especially challenges in Middle East and clarify Iran’s stance on each of them:

You know that Middle East is not only the center of east but the center of foreign intervention as well. The conundrums of Middle East that has made the region like a tight corner are the result of many unresolved issues and above that, the result of non-dispelled illusions.

Countries of the Middle East are coping with different types of misunderstandings. For example some have illusion of grandeur, while the others suffer from hypocritical phobias, some are trapped in arm races, and the others are involved in religious competitions. In such a topsy-turvy situation, some invisible hands are also trying to flare up the fire and keep the flame of divergence alive for ever in our region. Regarding this prelim, I will explain Iran’s stance on some important issues in our region:

First- Situation in Afghanistan:

It is proved that any insecurity or instability in Afghanistan will definitely spill over on neighboring countries -mostly Iran and Pakistan-.  No country more than Iran and Pakistan has suffered from the burden of Afghan refugees and production of drugs in Afghanistan.

In spite of many similar pains and sufferings, unfortunately the level of cooperation between Iran and Pakistan has never reached to the extent that overcomes these tough situations and solve the crisis from their sources. In my vantage point, misunderstandings that are mainly originated from negative role of third parties are the main reason of this deferment.

We are very happy of seeing positive developments in Afghanistan today and have always supported a stable and prosperous Afghanistan and we know that Pakistan also has did its best in this way.

If we are in search of endurable peace and durable stability, we have to complement our efforts with each other and increase our connections on Afghanistan and with Afghanistan government.

If we won’t be able to do so, others will decide about us according to their own priorities and interests. In recent years, Pakistan and Iran have taken separate positive steps to expedite the peace process in Afghanistan and many breakthroughs have gained in this way.

For sure, future trilateral cooperation between Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan can make us more close to a prosperous region with sustainable peace in it.

Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the Constitution of Afghanistan is the result of a long journey passed by Afghanistan people and international community and preserving it can help to sustain current minimum order that exists in this country.

In pursuit of Iran’s firm stance in supporting sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries in the region, Iran also believes that any negotiation about future of Afghanistan should be in cooperation and coordination with the official central government of this country.

Second- Palestine cause:

Most of us and majority of Muslims are quite familiar with the Palestine saga so I don’t go too much to the history of the issue. In recent years, unfortunately the nasty agenda of “deal of the century” and its implemental consequences are focused on elimination of whole Palestine both from ground and maps.

Unfortunately Islamic countries are forced to normalize their relations with the voracious occupier Israel and in the case of disobedience, are threatened of retaliation in other fields.

For Islamic Republic of Iran, that has never accepted suppression and pressure, Zionist regime presence in our region is considered totally illegal and illegitimate because this regime has been luring, deceiving and coercing all nations and countries into acceptation of its survival.

In this way, Zionist ill- wisher regime has sketched and implemented many evil plans that we can see their destructive and negative effects on our region and our people today. Although some efforts have also been taken to satiate its voracity, nothing tangible reached at the end.

Considering the inefficiency of previously suggested plans for the question of Palestine, Iran presents its precise plan entitled “National Referendum in Palestine” to the UN for the settlement of the issue.

In this plan, Iran clearly proposes a platform that provides the grounds for the people of Palestine to exercise their right to self-determination.

According to this initiative, that is in full compliance with United Nations Charter and rules of international law, particularly international humanitarian law and human rights, all the people of Palestine, including the followers of all religions (including Jews, Christians and Muslims), who inhabited in Palestine before the issuance of the Balfour Declaration will hold a national referendum and establish a political system that will decide on the status of the non-indigenous residents of Palestine.

The main prerequisite of this initiative that is both the request of people of Palestine and enshrined in UN Resolutions, is the return of indigenous Palestinian refugees to their homeland.

Third- War in Yemen:

From 2011, Yemen that is a part of Islamic world and Yemeni people who are Muslims are suffering from clashes that lack any positive or even clear perspective about future.

Huge military violations and human rights breaches in this country didn’t leave anything except destruction and disappointment.

Regarding this issue, Iran has always insisted on Yamani- Yamani negotiations for termination of the crisis and has done its best to subside the tensions over there.

We believe that Yemen crisis doesn’t have any military solution and military rivalry just has filled the pocket of arm sellers and empathized Yemen and our region of tranquility.

Iran is ready and will be ready to help the political settlement of the Yemen crisis for ever and will use its friendly relations with some internal groups to persuade them for terminating the battle. But I should clarify that people of Yemen like many other nations have learned how to defend themselves and have their own program of work and their own defensive strategy.

Fourth- Persian Gulf crisis:

Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz is one of the most important geopolitical spots in the world. A third of the world’s liquefied natural gas and almost 25% of total global oil consumption passes through this strait.  Unfortunately the US uninvited military oriented presence in these waters has created an immediate threat to Islamic Republic of Iran.

To prolong its presence, US has defined Iran as a big danger for Arab countries and convinced some of them to buy their security before Iran from USA.

This situation led a fabricated Iran-phobia and intensification of military tensions between the Islamic Republic of Iran and United States of America and its allies in the Persian Gulf region. By strengthening its presence in our adjoining waters and with the aim of implementing its unilateral sanctions, US hampered the movement of Iran’s oil tankers and prevented the oil sell via sea shipment.

Reacting to this U.S. military buildup, we clearly announced our opposition with American presence in our neighboring waters and asked our Muslim brothers in Arab countries to sit together and solve our security concerns. The proposition of “Hormuz Peace Plan” by president of the Islamic republic of Iran in the last General Assembly of UN was a clear indicator of Iran’s ambition for peaceful coexistence and respect to other countries sovereignty in the region. In fact, we tried to send a clear message to our Arab brothers that the real threat is not Iran and that they are just diverted from the reality of Zionist malignity.

In Iran’s point of view, increasing connectivity and dialogue between Persian Gulf countries, can reduce a big segment of clashes and predicaments of the region that are mostly the result of Zionist plans and American performs.

Fifth- Sanction regime against Iran:

Contemporary history of Iran is overflowing with unilateral and hegemonic interventions of USA. Not going too far, you may have heard the name of Ajax Operation in 1953 which during a coup d’état , Americans  overthrown  the democratically elected  Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in favor of strengthening the monarchical rule of the then Shah/ King.

In another vain attempt, they tried to suppress the 1979 revolution and then weaken it when they couldn’t suppress. Americans have been wrestling with Islamic republic of Iran from its very inception in 1979 and imposing a wide range of prolonged and bothersome difficulties to its believers.

Securitizing Iran’s Peaceful Nuclear Program and referring it to the UNSC that resulted in intensification of unfair and biased sanctions against my country was the result of their animosity.

So, Iranians have a negative picture of American interventionism in their internal affairs and suppression of their democratic governments even before the 1979 revolution.

They also perfectly know that Americans always preferred our country to be ruled by their stooges than by an independent administration. So, after 1979 revolution, many options like regime change, proxy wars, terrorist attacks, assassination/martyrdom of Iranian intellectuals and intelligent, sanction regimes and so on tried to fail our  Islamic- Republican system and force us to succumb to their desire of puppet appointing. And you know that US has pursued intervention strategy in many other parts of the world.

Gradually, the issue of Iran and Iran- policy becomes an important element in US foreign policy and each party (Republicans or Democrats) tried to prove the efficiency of its approach in countering Iran comparing to its rival ones. In this context, the imposition of sanctions came to its maximum level during the Presidency of  D.Trump – someone who beside his desire for being reelected had a strong commitment to realize Zionists aspirations. So, for analyzing the sanction regime and unilateral sanctions on Iran, you need to consider many elements like historical developments, American internal affairs and international dynamics simultaneously.

The issue that we need to focus on it today is the negative effects of these sanctions on Iran relation with its counterparts.  In the case of nuclear program, during the last decade, Iran tried a lot to prove the peaceful nature of its activities and finally you witnessed that JCPOA (joint comprehensive plan of action) agreement concluded between Iran and all UNSC permanent members+ Germany in 2015.

In JCPOA, all the previous UN sanctions terminated and Iran’s nuclear program defined as a peaceful one. In the importance of this breakthrough, it suffices to say that more than one decade of breathtaking negotiations was dedicated to reach such international agreement, which came to its legal strength with UNSC- Resolution 2231 in 2015.

Unfortunately, by political change in US, the newly elected Republican president unilaterally withdrew its country from JCPOA (besides many other injudicious withdrawals) and denounced it as a fruitless achievement of Democrats. This transgression happened while even in the case of state changes and succession, treaties are expected to be respected.  The next step, Trump forced other partners to either withdraw or prevent the implementation of JCPOA in coming years. By getting closer to the presidential election of the US, Trump administration that considers itself on the verge of failure is looking for turning points to grab more votes to secure his presidency for next round.  Putting further pressure on Iran with the aim of incurring a big change is one of these issues that he and his team are hardly working on it.

Fortunately and for the sake of Iranian’s strong resistance, USA has faced failure in most of its Iran-policy. The recent story of UNSC that in a very humiliating effort, 90 percent of Security Council members didn’t accept US proposal for Extending Arm Embargo on Iran and just the US and one non permanent member of the council supported the resolution in one of these failures. Less than one week later, US tried to reapplication the provisions of terminated resolutions under the name of Snapback. In an another shaming defeat, none of UNSC permanent members accepted the US bid and the interim president of UNSC announced that Security Council members, including veto-wielding members believe that the United States has no legal standing to enforce the snapback provision, since it is no longer a party to the nuclear agreement. So,   Trump administration’s lonely insistence on restoring United Nations sanctions against Iran, headed nowhere.  This result had many lessons for the US administration to learn but they will continue their wrong path of imposing maximum pressure on Iranians.

The story of Iran and JCPOA shows that there is a clear determination in US foreign policy to continue the clashes with Iran. You may ask me why?

  • Because US needs a good excuse to continue its presence in the region,
  • To continue its arm sell to some deceived countries in the region and,
  • To continue its support of Zionist’s brutalities in Palestine and so forth.

So, when they are determined to continue the clash in the expense of our regional progress and stability, we as the regional countries should be aware and vigilant to know what to do and what not to do. In a short sentence, we need and ought to work together and show collective resistance to an animosity that is not just against Iran (although it is ostensibly against Iran sole) but against the whole region and Islamic countries.

Although Iran’s reaction to such pressures may change from patience to synchronized reciprocal actions, there is one permanent element that will never change in Iranian positions and it’s the Iranian mindset of bully countering and unilateralism resisting. If such strong resistance be followed by other Islamic countries, for sure bully will change its approach and will see itself in full isolation.  

During the sanction period, Iran has been able to change the challenges to opportunities and increase its self-reliance. Many subjects that once were being imported are now locally manufacturing by Iranian youths. Even in the defensive industry, Iran has become one of the best missile producers. In the knowledge of stem cells, nanotechnology, aerospace technologies and human capital, Iran is one of the best in the region and even in the world. I mentioned these breakthroughs to say that resistance works and resilience effects.  If our close neighbor like Pakistan that has many similarities with Iran decides to resist the lordly behaviors of the US, many hurdles in our bilateral relations will be removed. We can achieve more in interdependence and cooperation than in divergence and dependence to others. ( To be continued)

Iranian perspective of ME, Afghanistan & other issues- II

Ambassador of Iran Ali Hosseini delivered this speech at the National Defence University. Here is the 2nd part of his speech.

Ali Hosseini

Conclusion of part one:

To wrap up my speech about the evolving global and regional environment and its security effects on Iran, I would like to say that the situation in Middle East and west of Asia will not remain difficult for ever. New alliances and new positive developments are coming about. For sure, the transfer of power from West to East is gathering pace and soon will dramatically change the context for dealing with international challenges. Although many in the West are already aware of Asia’s growing strength, some are still trying to suspend the decline of current malign hegemony by resorting to anything. What we need to do in Iran and Pakistan is to resist firmly all current unilateralism and coercive measures that are the last- ditch efforts of a moribund hegemony. Iran, as a big power in the region, has always been in the front line of fighting terrorism and extremism and did a great job in defeating big segments of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Iran also has always supported and will support multilateralism and regional cooperation. For us, Belt and Road Initiative as a whole and CPEC as a part of it are good examples of multilateral economic cooperation and so, we consider it a constructive initiative and will support it.

We in the region should try to avoid further confrontation and gradually terminate the current clashes at least between ourselves. In this regard, we in Iran consider Pakistan one of the most vigilant and alert countries of the region that:

  • During the recent years has done its best to mediate between Islamic countries and reduce misunderstandings between them. {all such efforts has been welcomed by I.R. Iran}
  • We appreciate the strong voice of HE Prime Minister Imran khan that aired to oppose US unilateral and unfair sanctions against Iranian people especially when they were badly affected by Covid-19 ,
  • And we also deeply appreciate Pakistan historical decision in 2015 to not enter the war in Yemen. This decision was one of those political wisdoms that as the time passes, its importance and prominence become more obvious.
  • The second subject is about bilateral relations between Iran and Pakistan:
  • Mutual tendency of nations to each other:

Considering the depth of historical and cultural relations between Iran and Pakistan, the level of cooperation between these two countries should be so high that nothing be able to have destructive effects on it. There are clear signs that our people crave for having an interdependent economy, they yearn for mutual development and wish for regional security and stability. If officials and representatives of these two nations wants to realize these desires, they have to work together more seriously and stronger than before.

Regarding the privileges of each of these two countries, Iran and Pakistan are bestowed everything that they need to address each other’s needs. If Pakistan is an energy hunger country, Iran is the cornucopia of it. If Iran is a drought country and in-need of rice and agricultural products, Pakistan is a plenitude of them. So, the big question is that how many more times we should wait that this great potential be activated and our people witness the result of our cooperation?  A very clear example of our slow motions is IP gas pipeline project. Since 2009 that IP agreement was signed till today, people are waiting to enjoy the benefits of this agreement that by now, remains substantially delayed. In spite of huge costs and difficulties, Iran has finished its share of work in the project and we are waiting our Pakistani brothers to perform their commitments.

  • Negative effects of sanctions on relations:

As the ambassador of Islamic Republic of Iran in your great country, my duty necessitates to follow mutual agendas and do my best to realize the dormant potential of cooperation between our countries. In many cases that I follow, when they reach to the last stage of fulfillment, our Pakistani brothers tell me that U.S sanctions and American intervention prevent it to happen. Today, I want to announce from this floor that US sanctions are unilateral and totally out of international agenda. There is no legality and legitimacy behind these unilateralism and many countries have showed their braveness to cut them dead. In spite of the fact that American sanctions doesn’t have any international bindings and by considering the Pakistan considerations, we have suggested alternative of barter trading that neither needs Dollar accounts nor incur payment difficulties. This idea is working in some sections and is waiting to be applied in other ones.

  • Joint economic recovery after Covid-19:

Covdi19 was one of the biggest unexpected threats to the world health at one side and global economy at the other. After the Covid inception in China, some other countries like Iran had badly affected by the disease.  In spite of many precautions and preventive actions, this virus remained a deep negative effect on our economy. The situation in Pakistan was not too different. Although here the disease emerged later but took many victims.  By the grace of God, the situation is now under control and people have started a new normal life. The story of Covid, which forced us to close our borders and halt many interactions, thought us many lessons:

  • The first lesson was that in the time of difficulties we should be in help of each other not sitting and blaming each other.
  • The second lesson was that we have to learn excellent experiences and share our best practices. In this way, we can relieve sooner and survive better.
  • The third lesson is about the speed of recovery. Many countries and regions are trying to revive their economic life and provide further impetus to their prosperity.

In the case of Iran and Pakistan, We need to show high resilience after Covid -19 and remove very fast economic impediments in the way of our bilateral trades. By respecting the technical guidance and health protocols, we can accelerate our cooperation and aid our enterprises that are on the brink of bankruptcy. Utilizing of Border Market potentials and facilitating barter transactions are some available opportunities that can come beneficial.  Overcoming the two obstacles of Covid and unilateral sanctions needs our serious determination and strong will.

If we be able to reach to this level of convergence, we not only can cope with regional and global evolving dynamics on the base of our national interests but can even make and shape favorable dynamics. Just cast a glance on people’s reactions on media hype about Iran- Pakistan-China relations, they were really happy to see these three countries on a same agenda.  It is just an example to show how our people expect cooperation between regional countries, cooperation that for sure, some others will try to play down its seriousness or significance. If we easily bow to sanctions or impose inessential further ado to our future cooperation, we have in fact showed green light to the third parts that can’t see our national and regional benefit.

  • Chahbahar- Guader ports:

Chahbahar port in Iran and Guader port in Pakistan have great potentials for strengthening the interconnections between our economies at first and all the countries in the region at second. The fear of such capacity has made some countries to introduce these two ports as rivals. The main reason behind these narratives and narration- developing is nothing except preventing future cooperation between these two countries by creating misunderstandings. The cognizance of Pakistan-Iran power in a possible post-convergence era and the probable realization of their great dormant potentials are not something neglected by anxious and malevolent parties. So, oriented by their hypothetical phobia, they will spare no effort to suffocate any future cooperation plan between Iran and Pakistan from its very inception and broadcast propaganda about this issue.

Conclusion of part two:

To conclude my words on the subject of Iran and Pakistan relations, I should mention that Iran and Pakistan are decided to be near each other and our geopolitics will keep us together forever. At the end of the day, our people will definitely expand their cooperation to its highest level.  So, if we want to be appreciated by our successors and be praised by our posterities, we have to accelerate this synergy and lay the ground for mutual prosperity.

C: The third subject that I want to shortly go through is about benefiting regional potentials for improving our cooperation. 

Pakistan and Iran are members of many regional organizations like SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), ECO (Economic Cooperation Organization), D8 (Developing 8 countries) and OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation). Although there are still some challenging issues in these organizations, they have huge capacities that we can benefit from them for securing our developments.

–         We have to keep the issue of Palestine and Muslim Rights around the world in the center of OIC,

–         We need to improve our infrastructural developments and connect them by using ECO and D8 platforms,

–          And finally, increase the level of our cooperation in SCO which has a great prospect of success in the future.

At the end I thank all of you for listening to me and again thank NDU officials for providing me this opportunity to talk about the importance of relations between inseparable countries of Iran and Pakistan.

Ambassador of Iran delivered this speech at the National Defence University.