Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 11 /Trend S.Isayev, T. Jafarov/
Despite the efforts of the U.S., the Iranian nation was able to give impetus to the development of the country, Iranian deputy Foreign Minister for Asia-Pacific Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi told Trend.
Araqchi spoke about the development of Iran, timed to the 34th anniversary of the Iranian Islamic revolution.
The official said the Islamic Revolution pushed the country's potential towards progress, adding that during these 34 years, the U.S. did their best to stop Iran's nation from development.
"Thanks to the liberation from the Shah regime, the Western states, and especially the U.S. influence, Iranian nation believed in its powers, and did a lot for country's development," he said.
Araqchi noted that during these 34 years, the U.S. did all ot could to stop the progress of Iranian nation.
As examples, he brought up the Iran-Iraq war, antipropaganda, pressure and sanctions.
"Despite all this, the Iranian nation managed to achieve a lot," Araqchi said. "In the field of scientific achievements Iran reached a level incomparable to to the one of 34 years ago. Currently, Iran holds first place in the region and 17th in the world, regarding the field of scientific development."
Further on, Araqchi said Iran made significant development in various fields of economy.
"We are self-sufficient in many fields, and Iran domestically produces a lot of goods that are needed in the country," the official said.
Speaking of politics, Araqchi said that Iran established democracy in the country, based on Islamic rules.
"Iranian people actively participate in deciding its own destiny, and each election allows us to witness that," he said.
Araqchi noted that Iran has achieved success in military sphere as well.
"We manufacture military equipment and weapons ourselves, and this is imcomparable to achievements of 34 years ago," he said.
Deputy minister underscored that today, Iran has turned into a country that is able to affect the processes happening in the region and in the world a well.
"Iran is one of the key players able to solve problems in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Syria," Araqchi said. "Iran plays a leading role in providing security both in the region and the world. And everyone admit that without Iran solving these problems would have been impossible."
Araqchi said that if today we are able to witness the establishment of democratic regime in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places, it is because of Iran's positive role in the mentioned processes.
Mass demonstrations against the Shah's regime in Iran started in January of 1978.
On February 11, 1979 the Islamic Revolution prevailed in Iran, and the last Shah of the Persian empire Mohammad Reza Pahlevi was overthrown.
Central Asia and Caucasus
Countries of Central Asia and Caucaus hold a very important place in Iran's foreign policy, Araqchi said.
"We are connected with these countries by geographic, religious and cultural ties," he said, adding that Iran has many connections with all of the Central Asia and Caucasus countries, especially with Azerbaijan.
"We do not make differences between Iranian people and the rest of the peoples in the region. Thus, we are interested in developing political and economic relations with these countries," he said.
"If there are any obstacles in developing relations, we try to solve them."
Araqchi noted that while there is sometimes misunderstanding, Iran always tries to eliminate it.
"For us, peace and stability in the region, as well as development and happiness of peoples is equal to serenity and peace in Iran," he said.
Deputy FM underscored that economic and trade relations of Iran with countries of Central Asia and Caucasus constantly develop.
"We will try to develop these relations even further this year," he noted.
Export of Turkmen gas to Iran
Speaking of export of Turkmen gas to Iran, Araqchi said the country imports the gas in order to widen its co-operation with Turkmenistan.
"Iran itself exports gas to various countries, being second country in the world, in terms of gas reserves," Araqchi said.
The official said that Iran exports the imported Turkmen gas, and carries out its transit.
According to Araqchi, Iran imports gas from Turkmenistan to develop its economic relations with Turkmenistan further.
"There were some problems regarding this issue, sometimes because of the weather affecting the amount of imported gas," the official said.
"Sometimes it was because of the sanctions imposed on Iran by the Western states, sometimes it was because of financial transactions. However, these problems were temporary, and were always solved," he noted.
The deputy noted that the old gas debts are paid, and the current debts are being paid, and there are no problems.
"Our countries continue transparent and constructive co-operation in this sphere," he said.
According to Iranian official statistics, Turkmenistan exported 11.8 bcm of gas to Iran during the last Solar year, which ended on March 19.
The current year's figure indicates more than 60 percent drop in Turkmenistan's gas exports to Iran.
Mehr news agency reported at the same time that Iran's debts to Turkmenistan have surpassed $1 billion because of difficulties related to Iran's banking system being crippled by the international sanctions.
According to contracts signed between Iran and Turkmenistan, the latter is obliged to export 40 bcm of gas to Iran.
Turkmenistan earlier promised to renew gas exports to Iran. As part of the barter trade, Iran is obliged to send oil industry equipment to Turkmenistan, who in turn would export gas to its neighbor.
Deputy FM said that On February 26 in Kazakhstan, a new round of talks between Iran and the Six powers will begin.
"Iran submitted its proposals to the P5+1 group members," he said. "We are still waiting for them to submit their proposals on this issue, and give their response."
Araqchi said Iran hopes that the prepositions of the P5+1 group regarding the nuclear issue, will be balanced and logical.
He added that the P5+1 group countries will arrive in Kazakhstan with new proposals.
"We hope that this time, these proposals will be balanced, logical and the Iranian nation will be able to accept them," he said. "We will consider these proposals."
Araqchi noted that in the nuclear issue, Iran's aim and politics are completely transparent. He said that Iran, within the international laws, using its rights, wants to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
"We will never step back from this right. We do not want to go beyond the frames of our rights, and do not wish to use nuclear energy in other purposes," he underscored. "This wish of ours opens a way to holding balanced and fair negotiations for finding ways to mutual trust, both for Iran and other countries."
"If the P5+1 countries are positive towards this, then we believe a way out can be found," he added.
Further on, Araqchi spoke of the possibility to host bilateral talks between talks between the P5+1 countries.
"Iran currently holds negotiations with P5+1 countries regarding its nuclear program. The U.S. is among those countries. Considering today's conditions, we do not think that holding bilateral talks with these countries, especially with the U.S. will be useful," the deputy FM said. "We hold talks with all six countries together."
Araqchi said that Iran believes there won't be any use of bilateral talks.
"Up until this day we haven't seen any benevolence from the United States. There have always been pretty words, but one judges by actions, not words. The U.S. must show its benevolence by actions," he said.
Araqchi added that by implementing sanctions and imposing pressure, there's no need to expect negotiations.
"Iranian nation will never accept negotiations under pressure," he said.
Kazakhstan will host the nuclear talks between Iran and P5+1 group in Kazakhstan on Feb. 26.
In 2012, both parties held three rounds of nuclear talks - in Istanbul on April 14, in Baghdad on 23-24 May, and in Moscow (18-19 June). All of the meetings ended up without any major breakouts.
Western countries suspect Iran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran has repeatedly dismissed the Western allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has every right to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Co-operation within OIC
The Islamic countries have always wanted to achieve unity between themselves, Araqchi said.
"f the Islamic countries and Muslim nations unite against enemies and dirty plans of the foreign forces, they can achieve a lot," he said, adding that all Muslim countries have always wanted that.
As an example, deputy FM brought up the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
"The OIC has always put the idea of unity and strengthening of co-operation on agenda," he said. "For example, with the goal to strengthening the unity in the economic co-operation sphere between the Islamic countries, an idea of establishing joint Islamic market has been proposed."
According to the official, another idea of creating international judiciary system of Islamic countries was proposed.
"In each sphere, a number of prepositions have been made, so that the Islamic countries would move into one direction and could strengthen the co-operation," Araqchi noted.
"The idea of creating a single military alliance was for example proposed so that the Islamic countries could use the mutual experience, and move into one direction."
Iran and Egypt are ones of the biggest regional countries, and considering the happenings in the region and the Islamic world, co-operation between the two countries is necessary, Araqchi said speaking about the relations between the two countries.
"Both countries believe in that. In fact, as we can see on the example of Syria, without joint co-operation of Iran, Egypt and also Turkey, the solution of this question is difficult," he said.
The official said that Iran is interested in increasing of co-operation with Egypt in all spheres, including political, economic and cultural ones.
"The regime of Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak was a dictatorial one, and it ruled under the dictation of the United States. Because of that, there were problems between our countries. We hope that insensibly these issues will be solved, and our relations will develop," Araqchi underscored.
Speaking of the recent visit of Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Egypt, Araqchi said that the purpose of the visit was participation in the OIC meeting in Cairo.
"We used this opportunity, and discussed the development of bilateral relations. The results of these talks, we will see in the future," Araqchi said.
The meeting of heads of State and Governments of the OIC opened on February 6 in the capital of Egypt - Cairo.
At the 12th summit of the organization, 56 countries participated, with 26 of them being represented by national leaders.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who took part in the summit, was the first head of Iran to visit Egypt after the rupture of diplomatic relations over 30 years ago.
The warming of relations between Cairo and Tehran became possible only after the revolution in Egypt, which overthrew the regime of Hosni Mubarak.
In August of last year, during the visit of Egyptian president Mohammed Mursi to Tehran, it was decided to resume the diplomatic relations between the two countries.
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