Iran: 444 days of crisis and 36 years without USA


In February, Iran celebrated a national victory, the 36th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. The crisis lasted for 444 days. As a result, the West introduced "inhuman," as the Iranian president said, sanctions against Iran. The sanctions have been in effect for 36 years already. A Pravda.Ru correspondent visited the Iranian Embassy and talked to Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanaei.

Iran celebrated its national holiday - the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution - on February 11. President of Iran Hassan Rouhani appeared in front of a huge crowd in the central square of Tehran, Azadi (that means 'freedom'). In his speech, Rouhani recalled the events from February 1979, when the regime of Shah Pahlavi was toppled. 

Following the overthrow of the Shah's regime, Islamist students seized the building of the US Embassy and took American diplomats hostage. The crisis lasted for 444 days. The hostages were released, but the crisis terminated diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States. The relations have not been restored to this day. However, the USA and Iran make attempts to collaborate on the diplomatic front. First of all, it goes about Iran's nuclear program and jihadists of the Islamic State, who seized large territories of Iraq and Syria.

The Iranian president said that Iran was actively involved in the fight against the Islamic State. In June last year, Iran supplied weapons to Kurds in northern Iraq and sent advisers to Baghdad. In addition, Iran continues to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his fight against the rebels, including ISIS jihadists.

As for Iran's nuclear program, Hassan Rouhani clearly expressed the will of the Iranian leadership to reach an agreement with major powers. He outlined Iran's proposals at the talks: Iran makes its peaceful program in the field of nuclear energy fully transparent, and the West lifts illegal "inhuman" sanctions from the country. Should the talks be successful, the agreement on Iran's nuclear program will be signed on June 30.

In conclusion, the Iranian president said that principles of the Islamic Revolution remain unshakable. 

Traditionally, Iranians burnt the flags of the US, the UK and Israel during celebrations. 

It should be noted that the Russian-Iranian relations have been on the rise lately. Last year, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Minister for Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev visited Iran. In 2014, Iran and Russia signed a number of cooperation agreements providing for the expansion of trade and economic cooperation in several areas, particularly in the areas of energy, oil and gas industry, supply of machinery and equipment, consumer goods and agricultural products. The two countries also signed the Memorandum of bilateral cooperation in countering terrorist threats. The contract to build two new nuclear reactors of Bushehr power plant was signed too. 

The Iranian Embassy in Moscow also celebrated the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Sanaei kindly agreed for a short interview with Pravda.Ru.

"Mr. Ambassador, in Saudi Arabia, the king has been changed recently. It is an open secret that Iran plays an important role in the Middle East, the Gulf region, but relations with Saudi Arabia remain quite tense. Is there any prospect to improve these relations and build cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia to deal with issues of the Middle East?"

"As you said, the situation in the Middle East is tense enough, and I think that regional cooperation for peace and security is very important. But we believe that Saudi Arabia is a big, serious Muslim country, and we very much hope that Saudi Arabia will play a positive role in resolving the situation in the region.

"Secondly, we hope that normal relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia will resume, because we believe that Iran and Saudi Arabia - their relationships and exchange of views - bring good for the establishment of stability in the region.

"Is anything going to change now that Prince Abdullah has died? On the one hand, there is a hope. On the other hand, the situation in the region remains tense, there are no results of the previous policy. Saudi Arabia still remains very conservative to change, but we wait and see."

"There is a hope. Today, Russia pursues the policy of switching to payments in national currencies between countries. Iran must have received such an offer from the Russian government too. What are the prospects for the two countries to switch to trade in national currencies? Can such perspectives be good for Iran?"

"This question is being decided now. Our central banks negotiate this, and we hope that there will be a result, because it is important both for Iran and Russia. The problem that we face now is the question of money transfer. I think that creating a  joint account and making ruble-rial settlements is very important for the two countries. We have had experience before. It was during the times of the Soviet Union, when there was a joint account between Iran and the Soviet Union, and all settlements were done in the ruble-rial mode." 

"So you do think that the transition to national currencies in trade between the two countries can be real and beneficial?" 

"I do, yes."

"Not that long ago, it was reported that Russia and Iran were working on a deal to exchange oil for goods, large amounts of oil and large quantities of goods were declared. Does this deal exist for real? Will it materialize?"

"You know, there was never such a deal - oil in exchange for goods. Yet, Iran and Russia have an agreement to expand trade and economic cooperation, including the agreement signed in 2014. There is a complex of projects in those agreements that include cooperation in the field of oil, gas and energy. The implementation of the documents signed in 2014, including the construction of Bushehr-2 and 3 nuclear power plants will show great influence on our relations with Russia."


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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov