Thursday, February 09, 2006

Majlis Deputy: Relying on East Was Wrong

Arash Bahmani, Rooz Online:
Kazem Jalali, the secretary of Iran’s Majlis (Parliament) committee on National Security and Foreign Policy spoke with Rooz Online on recent foreign policy developments. Excerpts.

Q: What now that Iran’s case is at the UN Security Council?
A: We tried everything for this not to happen. We had said earlier that if this was to be the outcome, everybody would be the looser, not just us: the region would become insecure as well.

Q: Do you think that Iran may stop the flow of oil from the Straits of Hormuz as some had stated earlier?
A: I think those were premature statements. I still believe that negotiations are the way out of this situation. We must still think of peaceful solutions. When the case is at the Security Council, we too shall do whatever is in our power.

Q: Like what?
A: End our voluntary suspensions and restrains. The government is obliged to do this because of the resolution passed by this body. This of course will need time to materialize, even after Mr. Larijani notifies AlBaradei.

Q: Do you really believe these actions are in the interest of the regime and the people?
A: When the case is sent to the UN Security Council, we too must respond, even though we still have one month left.

Q: Has any decision been made to withdraw from the NPT?
A: We have to see which way the world will sway. Such a withdrawal takes place at a very critical stage.

Q: One criticism that the current government has over the previous government is that the previous government was very passive in its foreign policy. Now we are at the UN Security Council.
A: What can I say? There are differences of opinion on this. Right now we are focusing on the IAEA’s report to the UN Security Council and what can be done. It is now clear that the Eastern policy, i.e. relying on the East, was completely wrong. It was very superficial. It is now clear that you cannot create a block with weak states. If that possible, we would not have had only three supporting votes at the IAEA. READ MORE

Q: Many believe that today’s conditions are very similar to the time when Iran accepted UN Security Council Resolution no 598 that created the cease fire between Iran and Iraq. Has such a discussion taken place with the highest leadership?
A: No. Right now the only talk at the highest level is perseverance and defense of the territorial integrity of the country.

Q: And if the UN Security Council opts for military action, what will our response be?
A: I doubt it will take that course in the near future. If that happens, things will become very complex. Because Iran is not Iraq or Afghanistan.