One of our challenging points with the international community is the nuclear issue. It seems that in the reformist period, all efforts were aimed at preventing the nuclear file from reaching the UN Security Council. However, the government that followed the reformist government thought and acted otherwise. How was the nuclear file managed during the reformist government?
SK: I do not agree with the proposition that if the reformers were in charge, we would face a nuclear challenge. The nuclear challenge has been defined in the essence of interests and power struggle between Iran and the West. The West does not accept an Iran equipped with nuclear technology. However, at the time of the reform government, political methods, games and maneuvers were different. I believe that the policy of the reformist period is being followed today. There were a few elements in Iran's nuclear technology and knowledge. We came to a conclusion with the West on a dialogue. Iran's confidence building measures were faced with unrealistic interpretations of the world powers. I, honestly and away from political tendencies, state that in the last days of the reform government, as a result of European arrogance and their mistakes and too many demands, we were forced to depart from normal relations and we reached confrontation and a challenge. The three European countries were not able to understand Iran's logic. Despite all these facts, our relations were not fragile. We did not provoke them from the first day. However, after the reform period, instead of managing the situation, a language was employed that forced Iran to move away from normalization of relations towards confrontation. One day, they would say they were interested in dialogue. Another day, they would say that they were not ready to talk. At one point, they said that the UN resolutions were like scratch papers. On the other hand, they used to say the big powers were about to permute. The knowledge of world facts of those in charge of foreign policy was very unrealistic.
Some officials of the present government believe that Moscow and Beijing are making great efforts to prevent the fall of Bashar Assad. On this basis, a new cold war begins. The same officials have managed the nuclear file with similar insight. To what extent is their view acceptable?
SK: Russians and Chinese view the Syrian issue within their own framework and beliefs, particularly from the aspect of energy security and stabilization of political systems from within and non-intervention of Western governments (with the cover of international structure). They analyze issues from the perspective of the new world order. They understand that the West, with its strategic unity, is gaining new positions, especially following the downfall of the Qaddafi regime—in which they were deceived by Western countries in ratifying a UN resolution. They do not want the same thing to happen in Syria.
The Russians, Chinese, Indians and many others believe that nowhere in the UN Charter is the issue of delegitimizing governments mentioned, or that the world powers are permitted to topple a country’s government which acts against their views. There is a third view that interprets the power in the sphere of “management of energy” under the title of new developments and relations. If Western countries can establish themselves in Syria and change the Syrian regime, the security equations of the region will change and the most important issue of security will be the security of the transit and transfer of energy. By controlling the energy transit, they will be able to bring down powerful and stable economies of the world and with this logic they can create substantive changes in the world’s management system. Then, they can hold the pulse of the world’s energy security (of the Persian Gulf) in their own hands.
China and Russia analyze the situation in Syria based on their own priorities. I don’t believe that if they decide to deal over a country, that country would be Syria. But the issue of an atomic Iran is different. Iran’s strategy is a negation of the domineering system, whether western or eastern. An atomic Iran with its awakening ideology and considering its geostrategic location is incompatible with their interests. Therefore, despite Iran’s strategic approach towards China and Russia, their behavior is totally tactical; an even the Indians are no exception to this issue.
What sort of concession should the West give to Russia and China so that these countries are ready for a deal?
SK: The nuclear file is substantively different from the Syrian situation. China and Russia strongly believe that Iran should not become nuclear. The Russians are our neighbors. A nuclear Iran is considered more of a threat to Russia. Therefore, in international organizations, Russians were ahead of Americans on Iran’s nuclear issue. In the many resolutions issued against Iran, through secret initiatives and deceit, the Russians were sponsors of these anti-Iran resolutions. However, in words they have attempted not to be portrayed as responsible for damaging their own interests.
Some make unrealistic strategic mistakes. These relations with China and Russia-- which are advocated by new Russophiles-- are in contradiction with the principal slogan of the revolution. More importantly, they have targeted the independence of the country, as the Anglophiles and Francophiles have endangered the independence and glory of Iran. An unrealistic interpretation of the capacity of China and Russia is dangerous. Throughout history, the Russians and Chinese have not been faithful friends of Iran.
Today, Russia and China have identified economic and political development as their most important aims. It is true that Vladimir Putin is more decisive than Medvedev and Yeltsin; however, he believes that Russia should define its common interests with the West. In this regard, Iran's card is a good subject that can be used in the relation with the West. Turkey used the same Iran card while immersed in the issue of the missile defense shield, and Iran was abused in the worst possible way.