Iran’s ambassador to the country

The interview was conducted by: Taha Hussein

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His Excellency Hamid Reza Dehghani, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Doha, praised the efforts of the State of Qatar to promote regional dialogue and achieve stability in the region. In an interview with Al Sharq, he valued the Qatari mediation in Afghanistan, stressing that thanks to the efforts of the State of Qatar and the neighboring countries of Afghanistan, fighting and bloodshed between brothers in Afghanistan were prevented.
Ambassador Dehghani congratulated the State of Qatar’s leadership and people on the National Day, praising the historical relations linking the two countries.
He noted Iran’s keenness to strengthen relations with Qatar in all fields and to intensify high-level visits during the coming period. He revealed arrangements for the Iranian president’s attendance at the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Doha, stressing that Qatar-Iran relations are a model for neighborly relations and a common history, saying that the economic relations between Doha and Tehran are not up to our aspirations. And that there are technical problems that impede trade relations, including the obstacles imposed by the Corona pandemic. He referred to the coordination between the Doha Forum and the Tehran Dialogue as a platform to deepen the regional dialogue. He said that Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup is a matter of pride for us in Iran, appreciating the renaissance that Qatar is experiencing and the prosperity that is increasing in the city of Doha.. The following is the text of the dialogue..

– As the State of Qatar celebrates the National Day, which is the first national event you attend, how do you see this occasion?
– First, we congratulate the leadership and people of the State of Qatar on the anniversary of the National Day, and we congratulate the State, its leadership and people, and we stress on this occasion the deep and ancient relations between the two peoples, the two governments and the two leaderships, and we are proud of them, and we consider them a model for any relations between two neighboring countries in the region. The World Cup, which will conclude on the National Day, December 18, and it is a matter of pride for us in Iran that Qatar is hosting the World Cup as the first Muslim country neighboring us, as it will represent a model for the rest of the Islamic countries with this expected hosting.

A positive Qatari role

qatar airways

– How do you see the role of Qatari diplomacy in defusing tensions in the region and directing peoples’ capabilities towards investing in development and not in destruction and wars?
– Recently, we followed the positive role played by the State of Qatar in resolving the crises in Afghanistan, which are not over yet, as stability has not been achieved in Afghanistan so far, but the efforts of Qatar and neighboring countries for Afghanistan and Iran have reached an important stage where we have prevented bloodshed and fighting between brothers in Afghanistan and between sects And the ethnicities there, especially between the two main sides in Afghanistan, which is a positive, important and sound role. Sometimes there are countries like America that play a negative and positive role. For example, America played a role in Iraq that led to the fighting and looting of the Iraqi people’s wealth or their role in Syria, where it almost ended up dividing this country, but when we talk about the positive role of a country, we mean by that what begins with good intentions. We stood against ISIS terrorism in Syria and Iraq, and we had a role in fighting terrorism for the benefit of the Islamic nation, humanity and the peoples of the region. Therefore, when I say that the State of Qatar played a positive role in Afghanistan, this is a positive and pioneering role in resolving the dispute. It is true that the differences have not yet been resolved, but Qatar has succeeded in stopping the bleeding of Afghan blood and the country’s slide into civil war or a new occupation.

With reservations about the Iranian role in Syria, it was not a diplomatic role, according to observers, and the interventions were to protect the regime at the expense of the Syrian people?
– In Syria, there is foreign interference and there is an influx of terrorism, and this matter did not arise from a day or two, but was prepared ideologically in schools, financed and equipped with weapons, and when Iran came to Syria’s aid, this matter was not an interference at the expense of another party, but rather it was to prevent the division of Syria and prevent internal fighting In this country more than what is going on. Together with our Turkish brothers and our Russian friends, we were able to put an end to the fighting and cease fire. In Syria, we did not support one group against another, but we stood by those who confront terrorism, especially those facing foreign interference. We do not forget that part of Syria (the Golan) to this day suffers under the Israeli occupation. That is why our presence at the side of Syria is to stand and align with an Arab country in confronting terrorism and the brutal occupation and against American arrogance.

– We return to the relations and the keenness to strengthen them. There is a commercial exchange and a common desire to multiply it. What have you prepared for these goals?
– There is an Iranian interest in promoting trade based on the principle of neighborhood. There is no doubt that economic, cultural and educational relations strengthen political relations and will prevent a major rift in the event of a political dispute. If we look at the relations between Qatar and Iran, we find that both countries produce oil and gas, and therefore we need what strengthens integrated economic relations. Especially agricultural. Iranian products meet the needs of a large proportion of the Qatari people, and the Iranian market can meet the needs of the Qatari market. Therefore, economic relations are not at the level that political relations are going through. Unfortunately, the problems that prevent the strengthening of economic relations are technical, not political, and it is known that the Corona virus has confused economic relations between all countries, but we aspire to reach the best degree in economic relations.

Promoting bilateral trade

– There were plans to launch sea lines that complement the railway line from Central Asia to Bandar Abbas and then sail goods to Doha Port. What obstacles have stopped these projects?
– There is a possibility to launch this project and we are about to start implementing it, and the obstacles in front of it are technical, but the ambitions are great to work for the interest of the two countries, and it is in the interests of the peoples of the region to establish this line.

– When will the meetings of the Supreme Committee take place between the two countries?
– The committee convened a year ago, and the Corona conditions prevented us from achieving the momentum we aspire to in bilateral economic cooperation, and despite the Corona conditions, Qatari officials told me that they are serious in strengthening trade relations. A delegation headed by the Minister of Trade was sent and held several meetings in Isfahan, and we are about to hold another session in the coming months.

– Are there reciprocal visits soon?
– Yes, there are reciprocal visits at the level of ministers, officials and international envoys, and it is scheduled to intensify visits between the two neighboring countries in the coming months.

And at the presidential level?
– Yes, former President Rouhani was scheduled to come, but Corona’s circumstances prevented this visit, and God willing, we are heading to the Gas Exporting Countries Forum summit meetings here in Doha. There are arrangements that can be made in this direction. It is the first and last chapter in the mutual visits program.

– With regard to the negotiations between Iran and the United States, there is Qatari mediation. What is Iran’s response to these efforts?
– We welcome any efforts made to return the United States of America to its commitments in the nuclear agreement, and this is what is stipulated in international rules and Resolution No. 2231, and we value the Qatari efforts in this aspect. We also abide by our commitments and international conventions.

Washington should return

– There was optimism for a return to the agreement with the return of the Democrats, but things did not progress. Is Iran required to make concessions?
– America is the one who left the agreement and must return, and we were keen to preserve the rights of the Iranian people in accordance with international standards. If we see an American willingness to return to the agreement, we are ready to respond to it and return to what we were. We tell them: There is nothing more than what we have agreed upon, but we want guarantees of being serious about returning and not leaving again.

– How do you see the importance of establishing a regional dialogue in the region?
– We are the first to call for the necessity of solving our problems in the region without the interference of foreign forces. And we must, by adopting the principle of dialogue, solve our problems without foreign interference, and the recall of American forces may be followed by the recall of forces from other countries, so that our region becomes a conflict area for the great powers. As we are peoples, we have more elements of unity and stability than the rest of the peoples that united despite their differences.

Is it possible for Iranian diplomacy to return to playing a role in enriching the regional dialogue under President Raisi?
– Yes, and one of the president’s most important slogans during his election campaign was to formulate a new concept of neighborhood policy, including the principle of good neighborliness, and to adopt a policy that supports these principles and goes beyond the concept of good neighborliness to a broader and comprehensive concept of strengthening relations with neighbors. We are keen to communicate with the Doha Forum to promote regional dialogue. Because the Doha Forum is a platform for deepening the idea of ​​regional dialogue, and this meets the objectives of Tehran’s regional dialogue.

Balance of Power

– We notice that there is more Iranian coordination with other powers such as Russia and the European Union. Is it an attempt at a balance of power?
– We tell them if you have an interest in the region, this is a good thing, but we are against interference in the internal affairs. We the peoples of the region know each other and we know how to resolve our differences. We were present in history before they existed in the first place. Had it not been for Saddam Hussein’s adventures, they would not have entered the region and they would not have intervened militarily and security in The area is unacceptable and no one accepts it.

– What about the economic situation inside Iran, where it is said that Iran is spending on the outside in Syria or Iraq and has forgotten the Iranian citizen, even though it has great oil wealth?
– We have great oil wealth, but you know the unjust US blockade, which we called “economic terrorism”, as the sanctions still prevent billions of dollars from reaching us. The blockade harmed the Iranian people and caused a lack of health services and medicines, especially Corona, and at the beginning of the pandemic, many fell as a result of the lack of medicines because we were deprived of our money.

– How have you seen Doha since you came to it?
Doha is beautiful, although its natural resources are not many, but it was able to compete with the most beautiful cities, and it will be more beautiful than today because it is under construction, equipment, roads and infrastructure are being built.