Al-Monitor – Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says Tehran is seeking to solve regional problems through negotiation and not confrontation. In a live interview with Iran’s state TV on Nov. 28, besides domestic issues, Rouhani addressed the crises in the region and other foreign policy matters.
In a reference to Tehran-Riyadh ties, Rouhani said, “We have improved relations with [most] countries of the region — except for a couple of countries. Today, we have better relations with Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Qatar. We may have problems with a couple of countries such as Saudi Arabia, which they have fanned.”
He added, “Saudi Arabia is looking for tension with Iran to cover up defeats in the region and internal problems. The domestic issues of Saudi Arabia, disagreements and turbulence are serious problems. They want to portray a country as their enemy to hide their internal problems.”
Rouhani said, “The problems of the region must be resolved through dialogue instead of confrontation.”
Addressing the critics of the nuclear deal in Iran who consider it a failure, Rouhani noted, “We achieved big successes [that are not reversible] … and [they] will remain in our history forever.” He added, “We resolved a big international problem — which was described by [the West] as an international crisis — at the negotiation table.”
Rouhani added, “We managed to conduct the nuclear talks in a very good situation. … Some thought that we were proceeding [with the talks] hastily, but we did this with a [US] government that was transitioning from Democrats to Republicans.”
He continued, “In terms of morality, we won in the talks and we proved that we do not lie and that, rather, our enemies were lying, [and that] we didn’t seek nuclear weapons and we managed to annul the UN sanctions against us. We may face resolutions in the future; we can’t foresee the next 20 years. But we annulled the resolutions [against Iran], and this is a success.”
Noting Iran’s achievements after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the White House’s possible plans to kill the deal, Rouhani said, “The new US administration’s attempts to cancel the JCPOA have so far failed, which shows its firmness. … Only one or two countries support the new US administration, but Europe, China, Russia and the rest of the world have taken a different stance.”
Mentioning US President Donald Trump’s speech and Rouhani’s own address at the UN General Assembly meeting in September, he added, “These two [speeches] were compared in the world and it was said that Iran spoke logically and politely, and the US president spoke in an illogical way to the Iranian nation.”
Rouhani said, “Enemies of the JCPOA in the region were Israel and Saudi Arabia, which failed. But we have anticipated moves for all the possible conditions.”
Emphasizing Iran’s diplomatic and military strength, Rouhani noted, “We need the two wings of diplomacy and military power in the face of possible threats, and flying will be impossible if any of these wings [fail].”
“Our main strength is our people, but we will certainly strengthen our military power and diplomacy,” added Rouhani.