Sanctions Push Tehran Toward Russia, China

Sanctions Push Tehran Toward Russia, China
Sanctions Push Tehran Toward Russia, China

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 told New Europe.

Speaking on the sidelines of the "Dialogue of Civilizations" forum recently held in Rhodes, Greece, Gholamali Khoshroo said there is “a good relationship” between Tehran and Moscow.  

President Hassan Rouhani met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the second time in the last month during a summit of Caspian Sea 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."

 Main Loser of Sanctions

"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 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 P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) 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. Iran and the six major powers have until November 24 to reach common ground on a number of key issues so that they can work out a final nuclear deal to resolve the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.  

 Readiness for Increased Transparency

“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 the Iranian nuclear program, 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 this program is peaceful and will remain peaceful and then there is no justification for other countries to stop others to exercise their rights,” Khoshroo said.

 Constructive Engagement

In addition, he said Rouhani’s policy toward the world or toward the West is “constructive engagement,” striving to remove misunderstandings about Iran’s role in the region,

“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.