Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcoming ceremony in Beijing, China, February 14, 2023.

Iran's Ex-Diplomats Issue Statement Against One-Sided Foreign Policy

Sunday, 07/16/2023

Tens of former Iranian ambassadors and senior diplomats have issued a statement warning about the perils of Iran’s controversial pro-East foreign policy.

The statement said, "The policy of a unilateral tendency favoring the East and radical opposition to the West as well as denial of the benefits of balanced relations with world powers have irreparably damaged Iran's interests."

This statement was issued following Russia's support for the claim by United Arab Emirates over the three Iranian islands of Abu Musa, the Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb. The UAE wishes to refer the case to the International Court of Justice. Tehran has dismissed Moscow's stance as "undermining Iran's territorial integrity" and some Friday Prayer Imams in Iran have called for an apology by Russia.

The former diplomats warned that absolute reliance on friendly ties with some countries (Russia and China) will naturally make them believe that they can do anything to Iran. 

A day earlier, some websites in Tehran reported on a speech July 12 by former foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who had argued along the same lines, saying that a perpetual anti-West policy is harmful to national interests.

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with former Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif before a meeting in Geneva January 14, 2015.

They said that such a policy will impose a heavy cost on the country, adding that a balanced foreign policy and a realistic approach to international relations, as well as avoiding policies that negatively affect Iran's national interests can be the driving force of an intelligent foreign policy in the current situation. 

The statement said Iran owes its territorial integrity to the endeavors of its citizens, and the government is committed by law to defend the country's territorial integrity. It further noted that this was not the first time Russia undermined Iran's interests. 

The former diplomats added that dignified diplomacy requires prevention of such unfriendly stances in any way possible. They pointed out that although Iran attaches priority to its international relations and particularly to its ties with Russia, nonetheless, the country's national interests and territorial integrity come over and above everything else. The statement stressed that there is no room for any compromise on the country's national interests. 

The senior diplomats further observed: "We believe that the reason for imposing this unacceptable behavior by others and ignoring the Islamic Republic's status and its national interests is that Iran has stopped abiding by its principle of "neither East, nor West" which was its motto after the 1979 revolution. 

The lack of a balanced foreign policy will encourage opportunist states to take advantage of their relations with Iran and using it solely to serve their own interests, the statement said.

Meanwhile, the print media in Tehran highlighted the statement on Sunday. Etemad Online quoted academic Ali Asghar Zargar as warning that "Russians can easily play with Iran's card and gamble on Tehran's interests, adding that Iran must be alert about such eventualities and not be content simply by demanding apologies from China and Russia when they undermine its interests. 

On the same day, Khabar Online carried a report in which it asked: "Why Russia and China often surprise Iran? Can we expect anything more than this from unilateral relations?" The website added that the controversy over Russia's behavior less than six months after China had adopted a similar position on the issue of the three islands, was an outcome of Iran's imbalanced foreign relations.

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