May 28, 2022

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Munich Security Conference: Opportunity to clarify Iran’s strategy

Munich Security Conference: Opportunity to clarify Iran’s strategy – Tehran Times

TEHRAN — Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian arrived in Munich on Friday to participate at the annual Munich Security Conference (MSC).

Upon his arrival, Amir Abdollahian told the Iranian TV that he is in Munich to clarify on Iran’s foreign policy.

“We are in Munich to clarify our balanced foreign policy, declare Iran’s political positions on regional issues, and concentrate on the Vienna sanctions-removal talks,” he said.

He added that he hopes the Iran-P4+1 talks would result in a “good” agreement in the “near” future.

“We need to have various talks with several countries for post-good agreement stages to prepare all sides to return to their JCPOA commitments,” he noted.

The JCPOA – or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – is the official name for the 2015 nuclear deal.

Amir Abdollahian added that there are still some unresolved issues in Vienna.

“We still face some unresolved issues in the Vienna talks. What is related to Iran, and the active initiatives Iran has put on the negotiating table, we are close to reaching a good agreement. The Westerners need to show their real initiatives with flexibility. This will determine whether the Vienna talks will bear fruit in the coming days or the coming weeks,” he reiterated.

Later, the foreign minister met with UN Secretary General António Guterres, and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. 

In the meeting with Guterres, the two sides discussed issues of mutual interest including the latest developments in the Vienna talks. 

Amir Abdollahian said constant talks and consultations have helped bring the views of the negotiating partners closer together.

The ongoing talks are aimed at lifting the illegal sanctions imposed on Iran during the Trump administration. 

Stressed the seriousness and intensity of the talks, Amir Abdollahian said progress in the negotiations is significant but the other side has yet to make serious political decisions and show determination in practice about some key issues in order to secure the rights and interests of Iran.

For his part, Guterres touched on the Vienna talks to revive the JCPOA. 

‘Iran’s red line should be observed’

“We are all looking forward to an agreement being signed and implemented as soon as possible by the negotiating parties that will be acceptable to all sides and ensure the interests of Iran,” the UN chief said. 

In his meeting with the German foreign minister, Amir Abdollahian reiterated that Tehran has been serious to reach a good deal since day one, adding Iran expects the European sides and other signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal to carefully observe Tehran’s red lines in mind and seek, after years of inaction, to play an effective role in restoring the legitimate rights of Iran as the party which suffered losses due to Washington’s unilateral and illegal withdrawal from the 2015 agreement.

The Iranian foreign minister rejected some comments about setting fake deadlines, stressing Iran believes the quality of an agreement should be assessed within the context of time.

“If Iran’s legitimate demands are heeded today, it will be possible to reach an agreement in Vienna,” he noted.

He emphasized it is essential that the other side not to make any miscalculations in these final steps and not taint the negotiations with media campaigns.

For her part, Baerbock reviewed the breakthroughs made in Vienna, adding the talks are at a sensitive juncture and that it is necessary that all sides make utmost efforts to pass this phase in the shortest possible time and usher in a new chapter.

She stressed that Iran’s rights must be respected, calling for redoubling efforts to reach a good deal in Vienna.

FM reviews Afghanistan, Yemen situation with top officials

In his meeting with the UN chief, the two sides also discussed issues in the West Asia region.

Regarding the situation in Afghanistan, the foreign minister underlined the need for the continuation of delivering humanitarian aid to the people of the country. 

Amir Abdollahian also said forming an inclusive government in Afghanistan with the participation of all political groups is vital and very effective for the resolution of Afghanistan’s problems.

The top Iranian diplomat further lamented the continuing influx of refugees from Afghanistan to Iran, dangers of the spread of terrorism in the country, and drug production that will affect stability and security of the wider region and the whole world. 

He stressed the need to expand and strengthen UN assistance and the services of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to Afghanistan’s neighbors, most notably Iran.

As for the current situation in Yemen, Amir Abdollahian also said the issue has reached a critical point and political efforts to resolve the crisis and prevent the continuation of the humanitarian catastrophe in the country should be maximized. 

He further referred to the importance of the role of UN Secretary General in this regard and underlined the need to resolve the crisis in Yemen and end the aggression and war on the country.

Guterres also expressed pleasure with the opportunity to engage in direct consultations and exchange views with the Iranian Foreign Minister.

Guterres said, “We also think that the government of Afghanistan should be really inclusive and not a show, and we believe a single-ethnic government is no solution to the problems in Afghanistan.”

The UN Secretary General expressed the deep gratitude of the world body and the international community to Iran for its approach to the plight of Afghan refugees that has reached a critical and dangerous situation. 

Guterres stressed that the UN is aware that the humanitarian aid delivered to Iran is limited, stressing the need to increase and strengthen global support and assistance to the Islamic Republic for Afghan refugees and asylum seekers and underlined the necessity to pursue this issue.

He also spoke about the concerns of the international community about the growing rise of terrorism in Afghanistan.

The world’s top diplomat also stressed the need to address issues such as the right of Afghan girls and women to education. 

Guterres then stressed the need to prevent economic collapse in Afghanistan, which would have consequences for stability and security of the country, the wider region and the whole world.

Reaffirming Iran’s concerns regarding the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and the continuation of war in the country, the UN chief also said the continued humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen is a blow to the world. He suggested that peace and stability must be restored to Yemen. 

Guterres emphasized that all parties and countries must help achieve a political solution to the Yemen conflict.

Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE, have been striking Yemen since March 2015. When declaring the war on Yemen to reinstate the pro-Riyadh regime in Sanaa, Saudi Arabia claimed it would restore the situation in the Arab country in a matter of weeks. The war has only led to the destruction of Yemen’s infrastructure, the miseries of the Yemenis, and a humiliation of the Saudi-led coalition among other things. 

Iranian, German foreign minister call for close ties

Amir Abdollahian also discussed regional issues with his German counterpart Baerbock.

At the meeting, the top Iranian diplomat recalled that it was his first meeting with her after she was named the new German foreign minister. Amir Abdollahian congratulated her on the top job and wished her and the German government success.

The top German diplomat, in turn, expressed her gratitude to the Iranian foreign minister for his remarks and welcomed comprehensive ties between the two countries.

She said her country is determined to forge closer ties with Iran.

In the meeting, some issues of mutual interest, including regional and consular issues, were also discussed.

Amir Abdollahian further touched upon the history of Iran-Germany cooperation, and expressed Tehran’s readiness to hold a meeting of the two countries’ joint commission at the earliest opportunity.

He added Iran is prepared to enhance economic, political, cultural and scientific interactions with Germany.  Amir Abdollahian also called for expanding cooperation between the private sectors of the two countries.

Similarly, Iran’s foreign minister and his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani met in Munich to discuss regional and bilateral issues.

During the talks, Iran’s foreign minister stressed the significance of exemplary relations between the two sides, expressing hope a planned visit by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to a meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Doha will help boost reciprocal ties.

Iran’s top diplomat also elaborated on Iran’s humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and the necessity of helping Afghan people to weather the current difficult situation

The Qatari foreign minister, in turn, said Doha is expecting a state visit by Iran’s president and his entourage.

He also touched upon the programs planned for the visit and said Doha stands ready to look to this trip as the basis for upgrading mutual relations.

He also presented a report on the latest measures adopted by his country with regard to the issue of Afghanistan as well as the current talks between the two countries.

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