A speech made by Seyyed Mohammad Sadegh Kharrazi, Iran’s former ambassador to France, in the roundtable meeting entitled ‘Regional and International Impacts of the Geneva Agreement’
There are many arguments in favor and against the Geneva Agreement. It is quite obvious that the Geneva Agreement is the start of the policy of a government whose slogan is wisdom, prudence and hope. The most important achievement in Geneva was negotiation. Before, there was no such thing as negotiation but this time they negotiated with us and gave and took and we were able to gain significant achievements under the direction of our respected Foreign Minister and prominent diplomat Dr. Zarif.
Our policies and diplomacy during the past eight years had changed and were completely different from the policies that we pursue at present. Before that we had also been able to create an expanded diplomatic atmosphere with the slogan of détente and through confidence-building measures, the result of which was diplomatic visits.
Western countries have no choice but to accept us; if they don’t, they do not like us. We either have to act like Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, or be independent. And when we are supposed to be independent, then it is natural that the Europeans and the Americans will not be compatible with us. Nevertheless, at the present time and with regard to the slogans of the new administration, the approach of the international community has been changed towards Iran.
The issue of diplomacy is not limited only to the nuclear issue. It would be a big mistake to think as such. There are the issues of the Caspian Sea, Iraq and relations with other countries, all of which must be part of our diplomatic activities.
With regard to Saudi Arabia, I must say that this country is faced with great chaos and deep contradiction in its foreign policy. We must accept that this country no longer has its special status in the US. It is totally obvious that the US has serious reservations about Saudi Arabia. One of the main reasons is Saudi Arabia’s support of terrorism and fundamentalism. Following the September 11th attacks, US policy was based on separation from any country or power which supported radicalism. Prior to that, US doctrine was supporting radical movements against its rival countries, including al-Qaeda. But after September 11th, this policy changed. September 11th was a phenomenon of radicalism and extremism. This incident caused radicalism to lose its status in the US’ strategy. Think tanks in the US, such as the Rockefeller Foundation, the RAND Corporation or the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and others have all reached the conclusion that radicalism and terrorism should not be supported. That is why we see that the US has problems with terrorist movements all around the world. This is, incidentally, to the benefit of Iran. If we decide one day to cooperate with the US, the beginning point of this cooperation will be the issue of terrorism.
Of course, today, Iran’s foreign policy is cooperating with the US on the nuclear issue. This issue could be used for verification. Iran can find out whether the Americans have a strategic look with regard to Iran or pursue other objectives. Our foreign policy is based on ideology. The slogans of the Revolution are regarded in our foreign policy. Iran can verify whether the US can accept Iran with its characteristics. If the answer is positive, then we could cooperate with the US in Iraq, Yemen, Syria and other places.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy will be faced with serious challenges after Abdullah. Right now, a major part of the Saudi educated elites have joined the opposition. Many of those who have been educated in the US have now turned to the opposition. They protest against corruption, authoritarianism, the control of power by a limited number of people and the very closed atmosphere which rules the country. The Saudis have comprehended this issue well. Kerry has even mentioned this point in his meeting with King Abdullah. He has said that the US’ foreign policy is based on its slogans including democracy and you must accept it.
I believe that Saudi Arabia and Israel cooperate with each other in the region against the interests of the world of Islam, Iran and peace and security in the region. They actually have very close cooperation in this regard. A French diplomat once told me that we hate having interactions with Saudi Arabia. Whenever we return from that country with precious gifts, we see that they support radicalism which contradicts our strategy and foreign policy and is, in fact, a threat against our national security. Of course it must be said that the Saudis have failed in advancing this policy. Saudi Arabia has failed in all of its projects in the region during the past three decades. In Iraq during the Saddam Hussein era, in Syria and other places, the policies of Saudi Arabia have all been unsuccessful. Following the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Saudi Arabia has never had good relations with Iran. Even during the presidency of Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani, when a security pact was signed between the two countries and is remembered as the era of good relations with Saudi Arabia, our relations were limited and did not expand. Any step that Saudi Arabia takes at the moment is against the interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran. On the other hand, due to the energy issue and the crisis of resources and its closed policy, it is no longer very attractive for the US. At the same time, it is also faced with crisis inside the country. Saudi Arabia cooperates with Israel as its strategic ally against Iran. Today Saudi Arabia and Israel are two wings against the world of Islam. The positions taken by Saudi Arabia have moved beyond the region and are unfortunately pumped up by Arabic hatred and prejudice.
We are unofficially in conflict with Saudi Arabia beyond our borders. I am not optimistic about the future. If Iran’s foreign policy assumes that it can move towards confidence-building and a state of no war and no peace, it is being optimistic to some extent. Otherwise, Saudi Arabia has stood against Iran and is considered as the most important anti-Iran element in interaction with the West. They feel damaged by any closeness between Iran and Europe and the US, thus, they create obstacles in these relations. Their security system acts completely against Iran’s national interests.