An advisor to the Iranian President has opposed pushes for closer ties with the eastern bloc, saying the Islamic Republic has been and must remain “independent”.
“The policy of ‘Neither the East, Nor the West’ is a valuable strategy for [promoting] unity around an independent foreign policy,” Hamid Aboutalebi said, referring to a famous revolutionary slogan, “Not Eastern, Nor Western – Islamic Republican.”
“Efforts to change that [policy] and [push for] strategic pivot towards the east are against revolutionary slogans and the view of Imam [Khomeini] and foment divisions …,” Aboutalebi said in a Twitter post on Saturday.
The advisor was apparently responding to Wednesday remarks by former foreign minister and current advisor to Iran’s Leader Ali Akbar Velayati that Tehran needs to draw closer to Russia and China as part of efforts to counter the escalating US pressure on the Islamic Republic following Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran has announced it will remain in the deal if Europe provides binding guarantees Tehran’s interests will be protected if it keeps fulfilling its nuclear commitments.
However, some Iranian officials, including Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, have already expressed pessimism Europe could become independent from the US.
The US has threatened Iran with the “strongest sanctions in history” that would ultimately destroy Iran’s economy unless it capitulates to a series of 12 demands.
The Bad Old Days Are Gone
Lashing out at figures pessimistic towards Russia due to its colonial presence in the country in 18th and early 19th centuries, Velayati said those days are gone.
Pointing to deepening cooperation between Iran and Russia, particularly in the defence sector, and Russia’s support for Iran in its standoff with the West, Velayati said Russia has in recent years proved its friendship to Tehran.
On China, Velayati said the country has aided Tehran in its hard time, when it was under heavy international sanctions.
“Our interests converge with those of Russia and China on various sectors and we can work together,” he said, adding that closer ties with the two countries could allow Iran to get rid of Europeans.