VP Hails New Era After Sanctions

VP Hails New Era After SanctionsVP Hails New Era After Sanctions

A vice president said the success of nuclear talks raises hopes for the peaceful resolution of the Syria conflict, but warns of rival forces stoking Iranophobia.

Massoumeh Ebtekar hailed the removal of sanctions as "a success of diplomacy and negotiation" and said it was a very strong indication that with the necessary will, "we can resolve many of the outstanding international conflicts, without resorting to force and violence".

In a recent interview with the Guardian, Ebtekar warned against what she said were new attempts in the region to create a sense of Iranophobia, though she did not single out by name Tehran's regional rival, Saudi Arabia.

"The lifting of sanctions on Iran on Saturday marks a new era in bilateral relations between Tehran and Washington," she said, adding that further rapprochement is contingent upon how the US goes about fulfilling its commitments under last summer's nuclear accord.

Ebtekar, who also heads the Department of Environment, hoped the implementation of the landmark nuclear deal would have a positive impact on the Syria talks, which have hit a stalemate.

"We saw initially a couple of weeks ago some positive developments with regard to Syria with a lot of hope. I think we should look forward to a more positive role both for Iran and for all those looking forward to finding peaceful solution to issues like Syria and Yemen, because the ongoing conditions in Yemen are also terrible."

The formal lifting of sanctions on Saturday has in effect reconnected Tehran to the global economy after a decade of complex, punitive measures.

"I think this is a new era for sure," she said.

"There is a lot of enthusiasm on the part of American companies and private sector, looking forward to working with Iran. I also think there is a lot of enthusiasm on the part of the academics and private sectors [in Iran]. I think there will be a lot of public diplomacy, but perhaps also a lot of tourists coming and going."

  Need for New Technologies

Ebtekar noted that sanctions took a toll on Iran's economy, including the environmental sector.

"They took a toll in many respects, particularly with regard to the new technologies that we require in areas like protection and preservation of our water resources, proper use of water in the sustained agricultural sector, protection of our rivers, wetlands, our lakes," she said.

"We need access to technologies not only in the refineries to produce high quality fuel but also in the automotive sector. A city like Tehran has five million passenger cars and motorcycles and a lot of them are now obsolete; they have to be changed to modern standards vehicles."

When asked about rising tensions between Tehran and Riyadh over the Saudi execution of a prominent Shia, which led to the storming of the Saudi Embassy in Iran, Ebtekar said Rouhani's government had a policy of alleviating tensions.

"I think that Iran has proven now, particularly during the government of Dr. Rouhani, that it has good intentions for all of its neighbors and is working to promote peace and security," she said.

"[There are] attempts that are being made to create a sense of Iranophobia. There is nothing to fear about Iran, which is an independent state in the region. While it is fully prepared to defend itself, it is also fully prepared to work with its neighbors for peace, for prosperity and improving relations."