That is the second a part of a two-part collection. The primary half is out there right here.
As a consequence of his divergent views on Iran’s worldwide and regional insurance policies, Hossein Amirabdollahian had numerous disagreements with then-International Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif whereas serving as deputy overseas minister starting in 2011, and these in the end led to his elimination from the submit in June 2016. The official purpose introduced for the change was Amirabdollahian’s appointment as Iran’s new ambassador to Oman, though he refused to simply accept the place.
On the time, the hardline media and the parliament’s Nationwide Safety and International Coverage Fee had been extremely essential of Mr. Amirabdollahian’s ouster. Critics described the ousting as a transfer meant to weaken the Quds Power’s armed proxies within the area, referred to in Iran’s official media because the “Resistance Forces.” Some media retailers blamed the dismissal of the previous deputy overseas minister on a request from Arab nations within the area to the Rouhani administration, a declare that Zarif vehemently denied. Some critics even claimed that Amirabdollahian had been changed on the request of then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Throughout his interview with an Iranian state-run TV community on March 3, 2018, Amirabdollahian was requested if this was true, to which he replied, “Ask Mr. Zarif this,” refusing to disclaim the allegations.
Though Zarif didn’t overtly criticize Amirabdollahian, in February 2021 he made adverse remarks about his former deputy in an off-the-record dialog, the audio file of which was leaked to the media on April 25.
Zarif stated that in March 2015, following a secret settlement between Tehran and Riyadh mediated by america for a cease-fire in Yemen, Amirabdollahian revealed the deal in an surprising interview, which led the Saudis to withdraw from it.
Robust ties to Russia and China
Amirabdollahian is likely one of the most devoted supporters of the event of the Islamic Republic’s strategic ties to Russia and China. On Jan. 25 2021, some Iranian media retailers revealed that, as overseas coverage advisor to the speaker of parliament, he had met with the Russian ambassador seven occasions and with the Chinese language ambassador in Tehran 4 occasions over the course of the earlier eight months. This abnormally excessive variety of conferences attracted media consideration in Iran, particularly given that in the identical interval, even Mr. Amirabdollahian’s then-superior, the speaker of parliament, had met solely as soon as with each the Russian and Chinese language ambassadors. Following the controversy over these conferences, he denied “the declare of getting a one-sided view in overseas relations,” however explicitly defended his perspective by emphasizing that “Tehran’s relationship with Beijing and Moscow is strategic.”
On Feb. 11 2021, following the go to of the speaker of parliament to Moscow to ship a secret message from Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to President Vladimir Putin, Amirabdollahian took on the duty of explaining the significance of this letter on Ayatollah Khamenei’s web site. To justify the Islamic Republic’s strategy towards Moscow, he stated that “Putin’s Russia is completely different from the Soviet Union or the Communist Japanese Bloc” and that “Putin’s Russia is even completely different from pre-Putin Russia.” Stating that Iran “will certainly profit from strengthening cooperation with nations like Russia,” he famous that Tehran “ought to desire the East to the West” so as to shield its nationwide pursuits, in a nod to the favored Islamic revolution-era slogan “Neither East nor West.” Amirabdollahian added that the supreme chief’s letter to Putin after the U.S. presidential election “sends a message to the Islamic Republic’s regional allies that Iran will now not watch for the brand new U.S. administration or the three European states concerned within the Joint Complete Plan of Motion [JCPOA].”
In his evaluation, Amirabdollahian additionally burdened the significance of Iran’s strategic relations with China, noting that about two years earlier, Ayatollah Khamenei had appointed a particular envoy, Ali Larijani, the chief’s consultant within the Supreme Nationwide Safety Council, to facilitate Tehran-Beijing strategic talks.
Amirabdollahian has by no means hidden his admiration for the Russian president. To justify his view, he stated on Sept. 25, 2018 that regardless of the “non-positive psychological and historic view of the Iranian folks” towards the Russian authorities, Tehran’s cooperation with Moscow over Syria and different topics throughout Putin’s presidency “has modified his thoughts about Russia.”
His optimism about Russia and China was in contradiction with Zarif’s pessimism about these governments, regardless of the latter’s official statements in help of relations with them.
In his off-the-record assertion leaked to the media on April 25, 2021, Zarif severely criticized Russia, claiming that Moscow had intentionally tried to sabotage the 2015 nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.N. Safety Council’s 5 everlasting members plus Germany). The previous Iranian overseas minister additionally complained about Iran’s diplomatic equipment being exploited by the Quds Power for its extraterritorial tasks. However Zarif additionally accused the Russian president of exploiting the Quds Power for Moscow’s personal strategic targets, by encouraging its head, Qassem Soleimani, to get extra concerned within the Syrian warfare. “It’s in Russia’s curiosity that Iran doesn’t have a disaster with the West, however doesn’t even have regular relations with it, as a result of normalizing our relationships with the West will harm the Russians,” Zarif said. He additionally recommended that the Chinese language desire Iran to be hostile to the West in order that they might “get probably the most out of” this example.
It was no shock that instantly after the discharge of the audio file of Zarif’s feedback, Amirabdollahian reacted by tweeting, “Through the nuclear negotiations main as much as the JCPOA and different essential worldwide negotiations, the Islamic Republic’s achievements on battlegrounds have all the time been a terrific help for diplomacy.” Amirabdollahian continued, “Basic Soleimani by no means jeopardized the folks’s pursuits. He thought of battleground and diplomacy as two pillars of defending the folks’s pursuits and Iran’s nationwide safety.”
Any attainable settlement with the US?
The Rouhani administration ended its time period having did not conclude nuclear talks with the Biden administration in Vienna, and thus the destiny of the talks shall be decided below Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi.
On June 12, 2021, throughout a televised election debate, Raisi indicated, “We’re dedicated to the JCPOA, however the settlement should be applied by a robust administration.” On Aug. 5, throughout his inauguration ceremony, he reaffirmed his curiosity in negotiating the elimination of sanctions, including, “We help any diplomatic plan that achieves this objective.”
It was on this context that Amirabdollahian reportedly announced the brand new authorities’s readiness to renew the Vienna talks, throughout a gathering with Enrique Mora, the deputy secretary-general of the European Exterior Motion Service, who visited Tehran to attend Raisi’s inauguration ceremony because the EU envoy.
A tweet written by Amirabdollahian on Aug. 4, 2018, which some media retailers mistakenly known as a brand new assertion, indicated that “negotiating with the U.S. has by no means been a taboo topic.” “Two sides have negotiated dozens of occasions with their overseas ministers over the JCPOA, and through three rounds of talks in Baghdad that I additionally attended. Negotiation in itself shouldn’t be an issue, the issue is the U.S.’s bullying habits, its huge crimes, and repeated damaged guarantees,” he continued. In one other assertion on Sept. 25, 2018, he stated each the expertise of the July 2015 nuclear deal and the expertise of the August 2007 talks with U.S. officers on the safety of Iraq confirmed that “the Individuals can’t be trusted.”
It should not be forgotten that Amirabdollahian begins his ministerial profession at a time when, regardless of Ayatollah Khamenei’s approval of negotiations in Vienna to elevate U.S. sanctions, the supreme chief has not allowedIranian negotiators to have interaction in direct talks with American officers. On the similar time, Ayatollah Khamenei has burdened that the Islamic Republic will resume the implementation of its nuclear commitments provided that “all American sanctions are lifted” and if Tehran is completely assured of their elimination. He has additionally dominated out making the elimination of sanctions conditional on negotiations about Iran’s missile and regional actions.
Provided that Mr. Khamenei’s very tough phrases prevented the conclusion of the Vienna talks throughout the Rouhani administration, it’s unclear whether or not or not he’ll proceed to take care of all his earlier purple strains below the brand new administration. Nonetheless, plainly ought to Amirabdollahian’s International Ministry want to conclude the negotiations, this objective will solely be achieved if the supreme chief agrees — a minimum of on a de facto foundation — to revise a few of his earlier preconditions.
If Mr. Khamenei chooses to take action, flexibility over his purple strains could also be justified by arguments such because the supreme chief’s higher belief within the new administration and its dedication to the principals of the Islamic regime.
Even so, nonetheless, it stays to be seen whether or not the extent of hypothetical flexibility in Tehran will suffice to achieve an settlement on the nuclear program and the elimination of U.S. sanctions.
Marie Abdi is an Iranian political researcher specializing in the Islamic Republic’s home and regional methods. The views expressed on this piece are her personal.
Picture by AFP by way of Getty Photos