Harsh Criticism of Ahmadinejad’s Foreign Policy

28 May 2013 | 20:56 Code : 1916735 Interview General category
Excerpts of an exclusive interview with Hassan Rohani, a candidate in Iran’s 11th presidential election
Harsh Criticism of Ahmadinejad’s Foreign Policy

·         In Iran’s recent history, no juncture can be found when Iran’s relations with the European countries were as cold, undesirable, and tense as they are today. The existence of extensive EU sanctions against Iran proves this claim. The status of relations with countries like the US and Canada is very clear as well: everyday more threats and new sanctions. The African countries, despite enjoying Iran’s material and spiritual support after the revolution, have turned their backs on us during recent years. This has reached the point where even Senegal, Sierra Leone and Kenya do not treat us properly. The UN resolutions against us (in the area of human rights) have been adopted with a high number of votes, an issue that is unprecedented. We cannot achieve any valuable status in the international scene. In fact, if we attempt to find our friends in the international scene among small and big countries, the number will not exceed the number of fingers on one hand; and they are countries which generally do not possess any international credibility.

·         During the past years and due to the decisions that have been made, Iran’s strategic options have become very limited and except limited relations with some insignificant Latin American countries, which have themselves been reduced recently, Iran has had to rely on the dual policies of countries like Russia, China, and India at the international level.

·         The Islamic Republic of Iran is experiencing difficult regional and international conditions when the developments in the Middle East and North Africa have overthrown or shaken up many of the authoritarian regimes or those which are affiliated with the West in the region. Such conditions could certainly be considered a great achievement for the Islamic Republic of Iran and could completely change the strategic balance in the region to Iran’s advantage. But some unwise and radical behaviors deprived the Islamic Republic of Iran of using the situation to its benefit.

·         Unfortunately during recent years, the ninth and tenth governments have taken aimless measures at the international level under the name of aggressive foreign policy which is more similar to creating crisis rather than a firm foreign policy. In other words, a study of the behavior and actions of the ninth government in the area of foreign policy shows a collection of unharmonious, non-homogenous, and sometimes contradictory measures which would be difficult to call foreign policy. The undiplomatic proposal of issues like the negation of the Holocaust and the necessity of Israel’s elimination, which the president considers as the most important manifestation of the aggressive foreign policy of the government, led to more unity and determination among the enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran when the country, due to its nuclear program, needed more tranquility in the international scene. Such radical and costly positions which were taken for propaganda objectives, were ignored and forgotten after some time, often without having any positive effect on the national interests of the country and have only left behind undesirable consequences.

·         One of the most important results of these behaviors was the further introduction of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a security threat; an issue the Zionist regime has taken advantage of more than any other country. Based on the resolutions adopted against Iran in the UN Security Council, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been introduced as the most important and the main threat against international peace and security.

·         The best situation for the US was provided when the ninth government, by changing the discourse and ignoring the recognized political and international considerations, chose a path which led to confrontation not with the US but also with a large number of countries including our neighbors.

·         Relations between Iran and the US have deep and old wounds. During the past three decades, the Supreme Leader has not given the permission to negotiate and prepare the ground for the establishment of relations with the US. The recent statements made by the Supreme Leader based on his agreement with negotiations with the US while maintaining the red lines, has prepared new grounds to defend the rights of the Iranian people in direct diplomatic meetings with the US.

·         The present conditions must be carefully analyzed and, if necessary, negotiation and bilateral dialogue with the US must not be avoided. The first steps should be aimed at preventing the increase of pressures and stopping the trend of the present sanctions. During the next stages, the atmosphere must be balanced until the complete elimination of sanctions.

·          I don’t believe in negotiation just for the sake of negotiation and without achieving any results. We must have a clear agenda and objective in negotiating with the US.

·         The ninth and tenth governments, after their incomplete and belated understanding of the consequences of sanctions against the country, chose a step-by-step strategy to exit the nuclear crisis, which has, hitherto, not reached any positive result. In any round of negotiations, the subject of making deals and bargaining is the elimination or reduction of sanctions which did not exist in the previous round.

·         Turkey’s ambitions in the region have created problems for us. All of these realities necessitate that the developments of these countries be carefully studied and that the necessary measures be taken especially in the common borders.

·         The ethnic, religious, and territorial differences in the southern parts of the country have not only not been reduced after many years, but they have also increased due to the provocative measures taken by our surrounding powers and by others. The religious and ethnic differences, particularly the Shiite-Sunni disputes, are more destructive and disturbing than ever before. Interpretations of the precious laws of Islam with backward Talibani views have damaged the image of Islam and the Muslims. Backwardness is not the only existing problem which Iran is confronted with. Violence, terrorism, and narcotics have made Iran’s healthy and free breathing path towards the East very difficult. The ethnic provocations, with the collaboration and incitements of the foreign governments and groups, have worsened the situation. All of these are just a few examples of the existing problems; problems which the future government of Iran will be faced with.

·         The fact is that, despite Iran’s “Look to the East” policy, Russia has found its interests in strengthening its relations with the West. Russia’s support of the sanction resolutions against Iran in the Security Council and the suspension of some military commitments have been some of Russia’s anti-Iran measures. Using the Iran card in its game with the West and particularly the US has always been beneficial for Russia.

·         Understanding Iran’s conditions and using their opportunities have led other northern neighbors of Iran to strengthen their relations with the West and distance themselves from Iran to different degrees so that their relations with the West would not be threatened. Among them, the Republic of Azerbaijan has, without exaggeration, turned into a security threat for Iran.

·         In order to understand the causes of the creation and continuation of this situation, the factors and measures which have led to such conditions must be carefully recognized. The connection between foreign policy and domestic policy has caused the critical decisions of the country to be filled with slogans, illusions, and populism.

·         Unfortunately, the foreign relations of the country are not desirable and any government which would come to power in the future must spend a significant part of its efforts to reconstruct these relations. In the first step, measures should be taken to reduce the misunderstandings and unnecessary tensions in relations with the big powers and also regional powers. The priority of the foreign policy of my government is, first, to provide and maintain national interests through confidence-building measures and détente with the outside world.

tags: iranforeign policysecurity

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