Iran pursues foreign policy of “a stranger nearby is better than a far-away relative”

Monday, 2021-12-27 16:55:56
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Overview of the round of talks on restoring the Iran nuclear deal in Vienna, Austria on December 3, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)
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NDO – It is not known when Western sanctions will be lifted, in addition to self-reliance efforts, Iran is promoting the expansion of cooperation relations with countries in the region, with the motto of “a stranger nearby is better than a far-away relative”.

The 8th round of talks between Iran and major powers on restoring the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was resumed in Vienna, Austria on December 27. Analysts hope that, after 10 days of returning to their countries for consultations, the parties involved in direct talks, including Russia, Britain, France, China and Germany, as well as the indirect participation of the US, will sit at the table for the common interests.

Tehran showed their goodwill in advance, saying on the eve of the talks that it will keep its commitment to enrich uranium at 60% regardless of whether the US lifts sanctions or not. In case that the major powers and Iran work together to “enter through the narrow door” to restore the deal, Tehran will have to comply with its commitments in the JCPOA, while the US needs to lift sanctions against the Islamic Republic. If the deal is revived, the people of Iran in particular and the Middle East in general will have the opportunity to welcome the new year in peace, security and stability.

Facing many difficulties due to sanctions, Iran has made efforts to mobilise domestic resources, of which oil export is a key component in Tehran's economic picture. According to Bloomberg, Iran's crude oil exports to independent refineries in China averaged 600,000 barrels a day in November, up 40% from October.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said the increase in oil exports and the ability to restore export revenue are signs that Tehran is on the right track to overcome US sanctions imposed over the past three years. Iran is confident it will export up to 2.5 million barrels of crude oil per day, if US sanctions on Tehran's oil industry are lifted.

In the context of being surrounded on all sides, Iran has sought to strengthen economic-commercial relations with countries in the region, especially with Arab countries. Iran has just held talks with Saudi Arabia in Baghdad, the top US ally in the region, under the mediation of Iraq.

The results of the negotiations on normalising relations and resolving misunderstandings between Tehran and Riyadh were positively evaluated by the participating parties. Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016. After that, the two countries conducted a total of four rounds of negotiations to resolve disagreements, in which Iraq played the role of mediator.

A few days after the visit to Syria by Iran's Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Reza Fatemi Amin, to promote economic relations between the two nations, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad made a two-day visit to Tehran to strengthen the “strategic and wonderful relationship” in the words of Mekdad, during his meeting with President Raisi. The two sides expressed satisfaction about bilateral relations, especially economic-trade cooperation which has brought about practical benefits to the people of both countries.

During a meeting with Oman's Deputy Foreign Minister Issa al-Harthy (who travelled to Tehran to co-chair the meeting of the Iran-Oman Joint Strategic Consultative Committee), Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian affirmed that Tehran is committed to promoting dialogue and pursuing political solutions to solve bilateral and regional problems. Abdollahian emphasised that Tehran is ready to negotiate with other countries to promote relations and considers the improvement to relations with countries in the region, including Oman, a priority in the foreign policy for the administration of President Ebrahim Raisi.