Russian Ambassador to Iran Levan Jagarian told in an interview to Interfax how the US sanctions will affect the Russian-Iranian cooperation and how Russia sees the role of Iran in Syria and the settlement of the situation in this country.
– The day before Tehran announced the launch at full capacity of the plant for the production of rotors for centrifuges for uranium enrichment. How do we perceive this signal from Tehran and does it bother us in the context of implementing the JCPA?
– You know, I do not know those details, because I’m in Moscow. But in any case, in all our contacts with the Iranian representatives at various levels, we earnestly request them to adhere to the obligations of the JCPA. Before that, there were no complaints against them, and this was repeatedly recorded by the IAEA.
I hope that as long as Iran is committed to the JCAP, all the countries that continue to work in this direction, I mean the three European states – the UK, FRG, France, China and Russia, will jointly seek such solutions , which would help bring Iran the economic benefits that it expected and expect.
Again. This is an Iranian solution, but we very much hope that they will continue to remain committed to their commitments.
– Do you feel that there is a consensus in the political establishment of Iran on the issue of preserving the JCPA, or did the US withdraw from the agreement strengthen the positions of the conservatives opposing this deal?
– It’s not a secret that there has never been a consensus in the Iranian society and the political elite on this issue. Even at the peak of euphoria, when this agreement was signed, and it came into force, there were still political forces in Iran that did not hide their negative attitude toward it. Such forces were in the military circles, in the Mejlis (the parliament of Iran), because they said that you can not trust the Americans from the very beginning.
Nevertheless, the weakening of the sanctions regime allowed the Iranians to establish more active economic ties, primarily with the countries of Europe. But now, when the Americans withdrew from the JCPA and pressured their allies and not only, naturally the positions of the opponents of the JCPA in Iran have appreciably strengthened.
I would like to emphasize once again that there have been no claims to Iran in terms of compliance with the JCPA so far – this was fixed by the IAEA. And our wishes in this context remain well-known.
– Do we intend to preserve and expand cooperation with Iran in key sectors – in energy, in the oil sector – in conditions of restoring anti-Iranian sanctions of the United States? And what is the mood of our companies in this regard?
– First of all, I would like to emphasize that we have never recognized unilateral sanctions as legitimate. This is a well-known fact, everyone is well aware of this.
Naturally, we are watching with concern the process of gradual implementation of these sanctions. We are watching with concern about how large European companies leave Iran, because they are afraid to get caught up in the restriction.
Naturally, we now also need to carefully consider how these sanctions can affect those Russian economic operators that are or will carry out their economic activities in Iran. And this is a mutually beneficial cooperation.
I also mean our Rosatom, which has been working very successfully on the Iranian market for a long time now – we are currently working on the construction of the second stage of the Bushehr nuclear power plant. This is Tekhnopromexport, which has a project for the construction of the Sirik TPP in the province of Hormozgan, and RZD, which conducts the electrification of the Garmsar-Inche Burun railroad, and Russian oil and gas companies that have their interest. First of all, we are talking about the company Zarubezhneft, which signed a contract with the Iranian side.
Naturally, it worries us, worries, but we are full of determination, to think about ways that will somehow protect the interests of our companies.
– American restrictions jeopardize the further implementation of the Russian-Iranian oil deal in exchange for goods?
– I want to say that, in principle, we need to think over all aspects, all areas of our cooperation with Iran, whatever they concern. All spheres of our economic cooperation, in principle, can theoretically be under attack.
– In the current situation, we can accelerate the transition to calculations in the national currency, to reduce or completely eliminate the dependence on the dollar in the calculations with the Iranians?We are actively working in this direction. This was in particular discussed at the talks held on July 5 in Tehran between representatives of the leadership of the Central Banks of Russia and Iran, in which representatives of various banks and banking structures of the two countries took part.
In general, work on this has been going on for a long time, and it will continue. We very much hope that stability will finally recover in the Iranian currency market. Before that, the situation was quite unstable. “Can we expect that in the foreseeable future there will be some serious progress in this direction?” “We are working. The relevant structures of the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran are working in this direction. When the results are, it’s still difficult to say.
- Israeli and some Western media claimed that there is coolness between us and the Iranians, as we say, the cat ran between us, because Moscow, at the request of Israelis and Americans and Israelis, urges Tehran to withdraw Iranian and foreign forces from the south of Syria and whole from this country. Do we really have such a conversation with the Iranians?
- You know, I would like to upset these people who say that a cat has run between Russia and Iran. No cat ran – neither black nor white. We have very close interaction with Iran in regard to the common struggle against terrorists. We are actively interacting with Iran on the ground and on the political track both in bilateral and in a trilateral format with the participation of our Turkish partners. In particular, on July 31, the next meeting of the guarantor countries in the Astana format is scheduled. As for the Iranian military presence in Syria, we have repeatedly said that it is legal, as well as the military presence of the Russian Federation. Because our and the Iranian military presence is carried out at the request of the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic. All other military presence in the territory of Syria is illegal. Another thing, of course, we are doing everything within our capabilities to prevent any kind of confrontation between Iran and Israel on Syrian territory, given that Israel is somehow there is present, and Iran is present there, that is, some pro-Iranian formations. In no case should this be allowed. And we are making every effort to do this.
- So we are not talking with Tehran about the withdrawal of Iranian and pro-Iranian forces from Syria?
- How can we conduct such a conversation? It can only be conducted by the government of Bashar Assad. The Syrian government must decide this issue, not us.
Elijiah Magnier, well known Middle East, correspondent writes the next.
On the same day (Helsinki summit), Putin hosted an Iranian special envoy, Ali Akbar Velayati, representing the leader of the Iranian revolution in his Novo-Ogarevo residence near Moscow, who announced Russia’s $ 50 billion investment in Iran’s oil and gas sector (meaning a total investment of 50 billion dollars the target bar). A real slap before the meeting with Trump, who withdrew the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan for a Nuclear Transaction with Iran (JCPOA). This shows how firm is Russia’s commitment to Iran and the fact that its presence in Syria is a strategic relationship. For Netanyahu it is clear that he is not Putin’s “Golden Boy”, he counts on close American-Israeli relations and Israel’s importance for the United States.
Israel knows that it lost the war against Assad, and so it is trying to get as little damage as possible from the withdrawal from the war. Netanyahu, perhaps, relies on a meeting in Helsinki between Trump and Putin, who agreed to the observance of the 1974 treaty and the line bordering the occupied Golan Heights. However, the position of the Syrian government does not support such an agreement, and its message is very clear: Iran will not leave Syria if Israel does not withdraw from the occupied Golan Heights.
This equation means that the conflict between the “axis of resistance” and Israel enters a new phase. This can only be the beginning.