THE speaker of the Iranian Parliament is on his first official foreign visit to Moscow with the goal of further cementing the two countries’ strategic relations.
Speaking to reporters before departure on Sunday, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said that Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, has always emphasised the importance of strategic ties with Russia, which is why he is making this visit at the invitation of Chairman of the State Duma (Russian parliament) Vyacheslav Viktorovich Volodin.
Qalibaf said Tehran and Moscow enjoy ‘very good’ relations in various fields, including economy, politics, defence, security, industry, technology and science.
‘There are numerous commonalities between Iran and Russia with regard to regional and global issues. Such commonalities could help us develop the existing opportunities, both on regional and international levels, in order to come up with more suitable (political) structures.
‘This would benefit the two countries’ relations as well as the people in the region, and would also help global peace-seeking moves.’
Qalibaf further noted that he would be holding talks with the Duma chairman and other senior officials on leading bilateral, regional and international issues.
Meanwhile, an advisor to the top Iranian parliamentarian, Babak Negahdari, said on Saturday that the promotion of mutual relations to a strategic level is among Qalibaf’s most important objectives, and he would also be taking part in meetings on economic and trade cooperation, and delivering an official message from Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei to the Russian government in Moscow.
‘In addition to strengthening economic cooperation within the framework of mutual ties, the expansion of trade ties within the framework of Eurasian (Economic) Union … and also discussions about the North-South Corridor are among other important issues of Qalibaf’s visit to Russia,’ Negahdari added.
- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says Iran will return to its nuclear agreement commitments only if the United States lifts its sanctions in a manner that can be verified by Tehran.
‘Iran will return to its JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) obligations once the US fully lifts its sanctions – in action and not in words or on paper, and once the sanction relief is verified by Iran,’ he said.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the official name of the landmark nuclear agreement that Iran signed with the P5+1 group of states – the US, the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany — in Vienna in 2015 in which Iran agreed to scale back its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of crippling sanctions.
Khamenei made the remarks in Tehran on Sunday during a meeting with commanders, pilots, and staff members of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF).
The meeting was held on the anniversary of a historic development that came days before the 1979 victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution that deposed the former US-backed Pahlavi regime.
This was when Homafaran, the Shah of Iran’s (Pahlavi’s) air force officers, broke from the monarchical regime and pledged allegiance to the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini.
Under his signature ‘maximum pressure’ policy against Iran, former US president Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the JCPOA and restored the economic sanctions that the deal had removed.
The US also began threatening third countries with ‘secondary sanctions’ if they violated the American bans.
Trump’s abandoning of the multilateral agreement was illegal under international law as the JCPOA has been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council in the form of Resolution 2231.
Iran remained fully compliant with the deal for an entire year but as the remaining European parties failed to fulfill their end of the bargain, Tehran began in May 2019 to scale back its JCPOA commitments in several steps under Articles 26 and 36 of the accord covering Tehran’s legal rights.
In his remarks on Sunday, the Leader declared it was the ‘definitive and irreversible’ policy of the Islamic Republic that the United States must first fully eliminate the sanctions before Iran reverses its retaliatory measures.
Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, has signalled a willingness to rejoin the JCPOA, which was signed when he was vice president.
However, his foreign policy team has said it is Iran that must take the first step by coming back into ‘full compliance’ with the deal – a condition Tehran says is unacceptable.
‘The Americans and the Europeans have no right to set any conditions of their own as it was they who violated their JCPOA commitments,’ Ayatollah Khamenei said, adding that Iran would pay no heed to the ‘idle talk’ of some ‘undeserving’ American and European officials in this regard.
‘They initially put some of the sanctions in abeyance for a brief period, but then reimposed and even intensified them,’ Khamenei said in reference to Washington and its allies’ initial limited compliance with the JCPOA.
‘Therefore, they have no right to come up with any conditions.’
Khamenei also pointed to Washington’s past failures to hurt Iran’s Islamic establishment as one of its numerous miscalculations concerning the country.
He particularly recalled Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton’s failed prediction that Washington would successfully enable a ‘regime change’ in Iran by early 2019.
‘One of those very first class idiots said two years ago that they would be celebrating the New Year in Tehran in January 2019,’ Khamenei noted.
‘Now, that person has entered the dustbin of history and his boss (Trump) has been kicked out of the White House in a humiliating manner – but the Islamic Republic still stands tall.’
Khamenei pointed to the US support for the riots that broke out in Iran in 2009 as another instance of Washington’s miscalculations in its efforts to bring about the collapse of the Islamic Republic.
Washington’s excessive trust in the Pahlavi regime’s military, he said, was yet another calculation that was proven wrong when the air force personnel turned their backs on the US-backed regime.
Khamenei described the officers deserting the army and joining the masses of revolutionary people as a ‘miracle-like’ development that hugely contributed to the Revolution’s victory.
And he also pointed to Trump’s chaotic final days in the White House, which culminated in the invasion of the Capitol Hill by his extremist supporters.
The incidents are not to be underplayed, he said, and judged only in light of the twilight of an American president. Rather, those developments in fact mark ‘the twilight of America’s reputation, power, and social integrity.’
Khamenei advised Iranian officials to always beware of the enemy and its error-riddled calculations and ‘constantly increase the constituents of national power.’
He hailed the recent back-to-back military exercises featuring the Army and Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as efforts by ‘the children of this country to boost national security,’ and calling the manoeuvers ‘a cause for pride.’
At the same time, Khamenei denounced certain regional states for ‘relying on extra-regional sources for their own security,’ warning that those very same foreign powers would desert them when their assistance is required.
He cited the likes of Iran’s monarch Pahlavi, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, and Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as examples of regional rulers who mistakenly placed their trust in foreign powers.