Leaders of Iran

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Fresh Diplomacy; An Interview With Aladdin Boroujerdi By Yasser Moradi

Netiran>Articles>Politics>Foreign Affairs>Fresh Diplomacy; An Interview With Aladdin Boroujerdi: "Fresh Diplomacy; An Interview With Aladdin Boroujerdi

Hamshahri, Daily Newspaper, No. 3440, Jul. 17th, 2004, Page 8
By : Yasser Moradi

Chairman of Majlis Foreign Policy and National Security Aladdin Boroujerdi says the Islamic Republic looks into all countries from a positive standpoint. "We are set to broaden our ties with the Europe, nuclear case aside. Unlike the United States, the Europeans and Iran can have good bonds," he says. Boroujerdi who was once a deputy foreign minister says Iran has to adopt a more active diplomacy vis-à-vis the non-aligned nations. "It does not necessary mean that we forget our interactions with the Europeans."

Q: We start the interview from the former parliament. You were an active member of the Foreign Policy and National Security Committee of the previous assembly. What is your assessment of the interaction between the majority (reformists) and the minority (conservatives)?
A: Decisions are adopted based on the voting process. Therefore the majority holds the final say even if the minority is active. The former parliament was no exception. The minority tried its best to serve the national interests in the best possible way. The former assembly voted a bill allowing Iranian citizens take legal action against the Untied States. The Americans had filed lawsuits against the Islamic Republic for years and they had condemned the Iranian government to paying hefty amounts. The sixth Majlis adopted an anti-US bill while the reformists held different views.
In the former assembly, we decided to hold regular meetings so that the majority and the minority could make better decisions. The reformists were represented by Messrs Behzad Nabavi, Rajabali Mazrouie, Mohammad Naimipour and Kian Ersi while the conservatives were represented by Mr Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, Moussa Qorbani, Ahmad Nateq Nouri and me. We held six meetings before our friends abandoned the reunions. The majority lawmakers were not willing to interact with us. Once the legislators were marching toward the Palestinian Embassy in Tehran in support for the defenseless Palestinians. The reformists had called for elimination of the slogan of "Death to US". That was the case while the American and Israeli interests are interlocked.

Q: How will you make planning in the new assembly? What projects will feature high on your agenda?
A: We are set to overhaul the committee. We have defined three committees for foreign relations, national security and a defense committee. We are closing our eyes on party-domination and are recruiting seasoned lawmakers. We named Mr Manouchehr Mottaki to lead the foreign relations committee. Mr Mottaki had served as Iranian ambassador to foreign countries and also deputy foreign minister. Mr Ashouri was tiped to lead the committee for national security and the defense committee went to MR Talainik because of his valuable experience during the Iraqi imposed war. In the first step, we tried to make the bet use of the experience so that we can define our priorities. Our task is based on the guidelines of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. We want to be active and ignore any passiveness. We are also arranging tours from the strategic centers for the members of the committee. An ad hoc committee has been set up to make an assessment of the performance of the four minist!
ries whose affairs are related to the Majlis Committee for National Security and Foreign Policy.

Q: How do you define your interaction with the government?
A: We are maintaining positive interaction with the government. We have to help the government because the foreign policy and national security represent vital categories for the country. We should stand against colonialist regimes and have our own say. I do not mean that we should get into squabbling but we have to proceed with logic ties based on international norms. We do not seek tension and we believe in positive interaction with the world.

Q: How well has Mr Khatami's administration done in its interaction with other nation?
A: Iran's ties with two Muslim neighbors -- Turkey and Pakistan -- have declined in recent years. We have to tip a balance to our commercial ties with other countries. Political and economic bonds are intertwined and we have to use politics for economy and vice versa.

Q: Mr Khatami has not emerged from a powerful standpoint on the international scene in the past eight years. What do you think?
A: Mr Khatami's government called for détente. His predecessor, Mr Hashemi Rafsanjani, was also bent on elimination of tension with other countries without chanting the same motto. The problem with Mr Khatami's administration is that we had no demarcation between the détente and national dignity. We circumvented the red lines so that the European ambassadors venture out to raise inappropriate remarks against us. We are boastful of our Islamic identity.
We are at odds with the United States because of its tone against Iran. We dismiss any dialogue with the United States because Washington considers us a country of lower status. We agree with a dialogue under equal conditions. We base our ties with the world on our Islamic principles. Unfortunately, we have seen improper phenomena under Mr Khatami's administration.

Q: Do you predict that Iran and the United States would open any dialogue while the current assembly is in power?
A: The Americans should learn that twenty five years have passed since the Islamic Revolution and many changes have taken place. We reject any wolf-sheep relation. The Americans should set aside its unjust policy of massacre whose examples are clear in the region. Then we can think of a dialogue. But now the time is not ripe.

Q: An interim government has taken over in Iraq and the time has come for Iran to define its relations with its next-door neighbor. What do you think about Iran-Iraq relations and what role can the parliament play in this respect?
A: Iraq can be defined differently. Despite an internecine war, Iraq is a Muslim nation and had better keep our ties with the neighbor. Iraq is also rich in oil reserves and we have had deep-seated religious bonds with one another. Meanwhile, the current Iraqi situation is ephemeral and it will not take long. Multinational forces are in Iraq and we have to help this country gain independence. The issue of Iraq is on our agenda in the parliament. The most revered Shiite cleric in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Hosseini al-Sistani, should have a say in the state affairs. A religious democracy has to be installed in this country. In general, Iran and Iraq should maintain positive interactions.

Q: The most significant issue in the parliament must be Iran's adhesion to the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for snap inspection of the nuclear facilities. The parliamentarians have already pushed for the government to resume the enrichment of uranium. How is the parliament envisioning this thorny issue?
A: The United States has managed to pit the world against us through its print media and we have to win back the world confidence in our peaceful nuclear programs. To this effect, we held dialogue with the three European countries to prove our goodwill and neutralize the US-Israeli conspiracy against the country. We voluntarily suspended our enrichment of uranium. The Europeans promised us to have Iran's nuclear dossier closed in exchange for our decision to halt building components for centrifuges. We intended to demonstrate that we were not seeking any atomic bomb. We also gave our initial approval to the NPT. But the Europeans did not keep their pledges and even violated their obligations. They adopted a harsh resolution against Iran last month.
I told the British ambassador to Tehran that the Europeans destroyed everything. Our top nuclear negotiator Mr Hassan Rohani informed the European leaders of our decision to resume the uranium enrichment. The NPT authorizes us to have access to peaceful nuclear technology and the nuclear powers have violated their commitments. The government has to resume the enrichment of uranium. Otherwise, we feel responsible and will push it to do so. We are adopting a motion in this regard.

Q: Will the parliament ratify the Additional Protocol?
A: Under the present circumstances, we cannot make up our minds. The Europeans have to make up for their mistakes to set the stage for our deliberations.

Q: Don't you think that our cooperation with the Non-Aligned countries would benefit us more than our trust in the Europeans?
A: We look into all countries from a positive standpoint. We are set to broaden our ties with the Europe, nuclear case aside. Unlike the United States, the Europeans and Iran can have good bonds. However, we have to adopt a more active diplomacy vis-à-vis the non-aligned nations. It does not necessary mean that we forget our interactions with the Europeans."

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