‘US wants to create stress between Iran, Saudi’

The recent American claims of an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the US has aggravated the stand-off between Tehran and Washington on various issues. The alleged plot is also potentially damaging for Iran’s diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf countries.

In an interview with Muscat Daily, Iran’s Ambassador to Oman H E Hossein Noushabadi explained how Iran will contain the political fallout of this allegation, how it will manage its ties with Gulf neighbours, and his country’s vision of a global world order. Excerpts:

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How do you react to America’s allegations of the involvement of Iran in the alleged plot against the Saudi envoy to the US?

Despite the recent humanitarian gesture by Iran [of releasing the American hikers], the US authorities have come up with this outrageous and false allegation against the Islamic Republic. Iran has already denounced the US claims. We know the Americans very well and the Americans know us very well. While we keep attempting to improve the situation, the US continues to give out negative responses. Iran doesn’t subscribe to acts of terrorism. It is a grave accusation that Iran has a role in an assassination attempt against the ambassador of another Islamic nation. Such acts are completely forbidden in Islam.

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Saudi Arabia has vowed to take action in the  matter and media reports suggest that Riyadh may approach the International Criminal Court. Are you worried that this issue can adversely affect your ties with other Gulf countries as well?

These new allegations are a reflection of the US intentions to create differences between Iran and its neighbouring Gulf countries. The timing of these American claims just before the holy pilgrimage of Hajj - when millions of Muslims from across the world gather in Ka’aba (in Mecca, Saudi Arabia), including over 100,000 from Iran - is also an indication of the sinister US designs. The US purposely wants to create stress between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

We would request Saudi Arabia as a friendly neighbour not to fall into this American trap. Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest Islamic countries and is an influential nation. We will talk to the Saudi authorities directly. Iran has very good relations with its neighbours in the Gulf.

If there is any trouble between our friendly nations, we are capable of discussing the issue and resolving our problems peacefully. We will not allow the false US claims to affect Iran’s strong diplomatic, economic and cultural ties with neighbours, which we hold as our top priority.

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The US is already seeking UN Security Council action against Iran over the alleged plot. Is it the beginning of another diplomatic battle between Iran and the US?

We will try our best to ensure that US doesn’t succeed in its ploy. For over 30 years, the US has conspired against us and used all its influence and capabilities to hurt Iran. The US continues to use the UN agencies to wage its war against us. In fact, the Security Council has become one of the biggest tools for the US to take action against any nation that opposes American hegemony. We have suffered in the past from this hostile behaviour. Iran has been dragged to the Security Council on the issues of [its] nuclear programme and human rights. This is nothing new for the US.

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The US has recently imposed penalties on Iran-based Mahan Air, accusing the airline of aiding special operations forces. Washington is also looking for international support for action  against the Central Bank of Iran. The European Union too has  expanded sanctions against Iran, citing human rights abuses. Do you see all of this as an effort to squeeze Iran economically?

For more than 30 years, we have been facing sanctions from the US and other countries. In most of our critical times, for example the Iraq-Iran war, we were under sanctions. With the help of God and the resolve of Iranian people we have been able to sail through these critical situations.

As the US influence in the region is on the decline, they are trying whatever they can to hold on for some more time. Although the US has extracted a lot of benefits from the resources of the Islamic and Arab countries, they have no rightful claims on them. They are finding new conspiracies and ways to maintain their hegemony in the Middle East.

So sometimes they pressurise some countries not to produce goods for Iran and on other occasions they incite our neighbours against us on the issue of human rights. The US and its allies have also threatened Iran with a military attack in the past. Lately, they are urging countries not to buy oil from Iran. And now they are conspiring to shut the Central Bank of Iran.

The US is constantly fostering enmity with Iran but the Islamic Republic is still willing to have relations with them if they leave the way of the devil. If America respects our interests we are also going to respect the US interests.

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in his speech at the UN General Assembly, blamed the current global order for the economic crisis and the conflicts faced  by the world today. He strongly advocates fundamental reforms to achieve shared and collective global management. Are there other nations that share the vision of  this new global order?

President Ahmadinejad highlighted the evident inequalities - economic, social and political - existing in the world. Then he questioned the causes and reasons behind the problem and concluded that the international agencies, including the United Nations, own collective responsibility for the present state of the world marred with violence, economic deprivation and social discrimination.

He rejected the world order where only five countries have the right to veto and do whatever they want. He wants all the nations  to be equal partners in global decision-making. There is a huge support for Iran and its vision for a new global order among the third world countries, who have been victims of the prevailing inequalities in the existing global order. Many leaders from these countries - in their meetings with the Iranian President on the sidelines of the UN summit - praised him for giving voice to their concerns.

They appreciated President Ahmadinejad for his courage, saying they wanted to express the same things but did not have the courage. Members of a few nations, mainly supporters of the US, walked out of the UN summit during the Iranian President’s speech. However, the most important thing is that a majority of the nations concurred with Iran’s vision.

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The US is witnessing a massive protest in the form of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has been dubbed as the ‘American Spring’ by General Masoud Jazayeri of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Does Iran view this as the end of capitalism?

We think that after the recent uprising in the Arab countries, the wave of the uprising is going to impact the entire world. The people of the US and European countries are already asking why all our treasures are in the hands of a few people. This is indeed the beginning of the end of capitalism.

The capitalist policies are not benefiting people in an equitable manner. The rich and powerful are getting richer and more powerful while the poor are getting poorer. Just like the Communist regime of the USSR ended because it didn’t reflect the human aspirations, the capitalist powers are now starting to fade because there exists a huge gap in what they propagate and what they practice.

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