Zarif’s visits to North Korea, Russia; alarm for US hardliners

Tehran, May 5, IRNA - Tehran, May 5, IRNA - Some experts pointed to the upcoming visit of Iran's foreign minister to North Korea and Russia, suggesting that this move is in line with strengthening diplomatic ties and could cause formation of new resistance front against US.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday, April 28, announced his plan to travel to North Korea and said that the visit will soon be scheduled. Zarif also said, 'As we said, our neighbors are always our priorities.'

His remarks came after it was announced that the Iranian foreign minister will travel to Russia and two neighboring countries within next 10 days.

The latest meeting of top Iranian officials with North Korea is related to visit of Ri Yong-ho, the country's foreign minister, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in August 2018. The meeting took place one day after the launch of the first stage of the US sanctions against Iran and about two months after the first round of talks with Kim Jong-un with the US president.

Now, after the failure of the second round of talks in Hanoi, Vietnam between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader, as well as non-extension of Iran's oil waivers, Zarif announced his upcoming visit to North Korea.

The Iranian top diplomat announced his trip to Russia and North Korea while the North Korean leader and Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Kim Jong-un on an unprecedented visit by Kim to Russia.

Considering the importance of the issue and the announcement of the visit of FM Zarif to North Korea and Russia, university professor and international issues expert Ali Bigdeli in an exclusive interview with Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) shed light on the issue.

And this shows that the trip to New York has not been so satisfying, and Iran's diplomacy is looking for a new option to stand up against sanctions by the Trump government. He added that the visit could pose a threat to the radical factions in the United States, calling for increased sanctions against Iran. Iran has paid more attention to the eastern region and has been looking for new policies in East Asian countries.

** Zarif’s trip to North Korea, message to US government

The expert on international affairs on the announcement of Zarif’s trip to Pyongyang, made the remark that trip will be made to North Korea over the next ten days when he returned from the US’ trip and this shows that the trip to New York has not been so satisfying, and Iran's diplomacy is looking for a new option to stand up against the sanctions of the Trump administration.

He added that the visit could pose a threat to the hardline factions in the United States, calling for increased sanctions against Iran. Iran has paid more attention to the East and has been looking for new policies in East Asian countries.

The expert also underlined that North Korea's leader Kim's visit to Russia has not had any economic gains and was a political maneuvering, and that North Korea is seeking to resist US sanctions by strengthening ties with countries like Russia and Iran.

'Of course, North Korea is not a country that can help us solve our problems. North Korean economy and trade cannot be a solution to Iran's problems because our exports are not in demand in the country and China, as a administer of North Korea's economy, is a serious competitor in this domain, so there is no place for Iran, and the distance should also be considered in this matter,' the university professor reiterated.

** History of Iran-North Korea cooperation

According to Bigdeli, diplomatic relations between Iran and North Korea began formally after the revolution, and the two countries are cooperating in different fields of science, education, culture and civilian affairs.

The analyst made the remark that Iran and North Korea have different geographic, historical, cultural and governmental structures, and the common point of the two countries is their position against the United States. The same thing has caused the two countries to work closely together on arms issues.

'Although the Americans accuse our country of cooperating with North Korea on the nuclear issue, but over last few years we have reached a level of production of weapons that do not require North Korea's weapons, and our relationship is the same long-standing friendship,' said the university professor.

'Given the vast potential of Iran in many projects, the North Korean delegation is supposed to come to Iran, which could improve the economic relations between the two countries because both Iran and North Korea are sanctioned by the US government and reliance on domestic technology, to some extent, reduces their economic problems.'

He concluded that Zarif's visit to Pyongyang could strengthen North Korea's positions, so that the United States will eventually find out that it cannot push nations to obey it with unilateralism and policy of exerting pressure and this could be alarming for American hardliners that aggravate and support anti-Iran policies of Trump government.

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