No Talks With US on Ties

No Talks With US on TiesNo Talks With US on Ties

A senior security official has said that normalization of ties with the US "will depend on the honesty of the Americans" in the talks between the P5+1 and Iran over the country's nuclear program, and that those talks were purely focused on the nuclear issue.

Ali Shamkhani who is the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, said in an interview with the Financial Times that "Everything will depend on the honesty of Americans in the nuclear talks. If a nuclear deal is reached, Iran and the US cannot still cooperate in the region. But the two can behave in a way that they do not use their energy against each other. A nuclear agreement can be very crucial in this regard," according to the transcript of the interview which was made available online on Monday.

Senior diplomats from Iran and the US have already held successive meetings as part of the ongoing nuclear talks between Tehran and the P5+1 (the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany).  The two sides failed to meet a second self-imposed deadline in November to reach a long-term settlement to the long-running dispute over Tehran’s nuclear work and decided to extend the negotiations on a comprehensive deal for seven more months until the end of next June. They held a new round of talks in Geneva, Switzerland last week.

Shamkhani added that there have been "No. Negotiations" between Iranian and American diplomats and "only the nuclear issue" was discussed in those meetings.

Shamkhani said Tehran "has tried to open the path to reach an agreement with those who had broken their promises before," adding that Tehran could not be forced into an agreement under "the pressure of sanctions".  

  Relations with Saudi Arabia

Elsewhere, he touched on the state of ties between Tehran and Riyadh and said "These misunderstandings or bitter rivalries should move from its hostile nature to natural political games. This can be done."

He added "Iran and Saudi Arabia are involved in the oil war. Saudis have lost $100bn in the oil war so far, far bigger than Iran’s losses."

Oil has lost nearly 50 percent of its value over the past six months as a result of declining demand and a supply glut.

The decline in oil prices was accelerated following the refusal of some major oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, to cut their crude output.

The former defense minister also made a reference to Iran's role in combating the self-declared Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and said "Iran has military advisers there," and added" Iran is the only country that has unconditionally defended peace and stability in Iraq."

He also dismissed allegations that Iran has conducted airstrikes against targets of IS in eastern Iraq and said "It’s propaganda. There is no need for Iran’s air strikes. First, Iraq has its own jets. Second, the impact of air strikes is small. Daesh does not have a defensive line to be targeted. Its members are scattered over a region or in houses. They cannot be bombed in one spot."

About US, Iran cooperation in Iraq he said "If we have an operation somewhere — meaning military advisers — we tell the Iraqi government that we will not intervene if Americans get involved."

Since August, the US has been leading an air strike campaign as part of a coalition including the UK and some regional partners, such as Saudi Arabia, against IS (also known as ISIS or ISIL) in Iraq and Syria, where the group has come to control large swaths of territory.

Shamkhani noted "Daesh (IS) failed in its two main goals of conquering Baghdad and Erbil. Meanwhile, it has lost most territories it had taken from Shiite and Kurds such as Amerli, Jabal Hamrin, Saeediyah, Jelola and Jurf al-Sakhar."

"Daesh is no longer close to Iran’s borders. I can guarantee that our red lines which are our borders, Shiite holy sites and Baghdad will no longer be threatened."