Jun 22, 2024, 8:33 PM
Journalist ID: 1852
News ID: 85516934
12 Persons


Austria's ex-FM: Iran should never negotiate with West again

Jun 22, 2024, 8:33 PM
News ID: 85516934
Austria's ex-FM: Iran should never negotiate with West again

Tehran, IRNA - The former foreign minister of Austria says that considering the behavior of the Westerners, if she were in the place of the Iranian officials, as someone who has learned from the past, she would not negotiate with the Westerners again.

These days, the discussion about nuclear negotiations and the relationship with the United States is hot, and for this reason, IRNA went to the former foreign minister of Austria, Karin Kneisel, to ask her opinions about Iran's negotiations with the West and the possible future of these relations.

Interview with Karin Kneissl Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs between 2017 and 2019:

You were once the foreign minister of Austria and you are aware  of the Iran nuclear program. Are the Europeans and even the United States really afraid that Iran’s nuclear program could be weaponized or is it just an excuse to stop Iran from expanding its power in the region?

The European Union had only one little success story for a tiny while and that was the talks for the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal). I used to visit your country on a yearly level between 2005 and 2017. But I remember Iranian counterparts telling me that the situation on the nuclear deal will improve only the day the United States will start speaking to Iran. And that was the case. We had the Geneva announcement in November 2013. And then things got a new dynamic. However, the problem, as we all know it, and you know it much better, was that that agreement did not open the doors for Iran as many people had been expecting.

Everybody thought there would be foreign investment; there would be some sort of total lifting of sanctions. Once the UN Security Council lifted the sanctions, unfortunately, the United States was never honest, in the whole thing, because they kept their sanctions. No bank dared to finance a project.

I was invited to many business roundtables, in France, Germany, Iran, etc. There was a lot of blah, blah, but nothing happened after 2015.

And then, of course, we had the May 2018, the 9th of May, I remember very well President (Donald) Trump withdrawing.

The problem with that agreement was that the United States never acted in an honest way on it. They kept their sanctions.

And I remember also very well the position then of Egypt, of the United Arab Emirates, of Saudi Arabia. I remember their positions all pointing out that Iran is working on its nuclear program, and Iran is too much of a regional power, and the JCPOA needs a big annex on curbing down Iran as a regional actor, etc, etc. So I think that it was not only about the US, it was also a lot about other countries in the region.

In 2018, you had a meeting with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, in Austria. And how did you see at that time, how did you see the former President Hassan Rouhani’s government that he was considered in terms of looking to the West and how do you compare his government to that of late President Ebrahim Raisi, because he's actually known for looking to the East?

My sincere empathy goes to the Iranian people for the losses of your president (Raisi) and for your foreign minister. I only met his predecessor, President Rouhani and (Foreign) Minister Javad Zarif. And in those days, honestly, I felt embarrassed. As the chairperson of the European Union, in which they had placed a lot of hope to save the Iran agreement, we could offer little to nothing.

There were all kinds of structures tried to be created, all sides of power structures, how to enable financing.

There was a lot of talk even for EU states that maybe we can move out of that with creating alternative structures like SWIFT. Nothing worked. And we had nothing, nothing to offer to the Iranian government which had expectations from the EU.

If you were an Iranian diplomat, would you go the same route again conceding what happened during nuclear talks? Would you sign a new agreement with the United States?

You know the general problem I have is with the notion of agreements. I always said that it's an agreement. What was the language we heard in the States and from the EU, unfortunately, was this horrible word, the deal, you know, it was called a deal. I don't like the word deal, I keep saying, and I also told my counterparts when we had the Brexit talks, don't call it a deal, it's not a Brexit deal. A deal is what the dealers do. But this was an agreement, and an agreement is based on the fundamental principle that you sign and you subscribe to a legal agreement which carries with it the guarantee that this treaty will be preserved.


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