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Amirabdollahian Denies Differences Over Iran's Foreign Policy

Amirabdollahian Denies Differences Over Iran's Foreign Policy

Saturday, 18 March, 2023 - 08:00
Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani stands next to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (File photo: Reuters)

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian denied on Saturday any local differences over Iran’s novel foreign policy, stressing that all parties were in coordination under "the supervision of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi."

Amirabdollahian confirmed that the Supreme National Security Council Secretary, Ali Shamkhani, would soon visit Iraq.

Earlier, observers questioned the foreign ministry's absence from the talks with neighboring countries, especially after Shamkhani visited the UAE a week after Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to resume diplomatic relations.

The FM asserted in a tweet in Arabic that Shamkhani's visits to the UAE and Iraq were carried out within the framework of security relations.

The representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs accompanies the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council in these travels, he noted, adding that there is coordination in Iran's foreign policy.

Hours before Amirabdollahian's tweet, Iranian news agencies reported that Shamkhani would travel to Baghdad next week to sign a security agreement without giving further details.

The rapprochement between Iran and Gulf and Arab countries increased after the Saudi-Iranian agreement.

Meanwhile, the head of the government's information council, Sepehr Khalaji, said the Iranian President had assigned Shamkhani to visit the UAE to continue the government's policy of supporting and boosting ties with neighboring countries.

Khalaji tweeted that these visits would include other regional countries.

On Thursday, Reuters quoted two Iranian officials saying that last September, the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, lost patience with the slow pace of bilateral talks and summoned his team to discuss ways to accelerate the process, which led to China's involvement.

Iran chose its senior national security official Ali Shamkhani to lead the negotiations because he is an ethnic Arab, said a regional source who belongs to Khamenei's inner circle.

Furthermore, Telegram channels affiliated with the reformists explained Shamkhani's mission with neighboring countries, saying the ruling establishment concluded that the team of the Foreign Ministry needs to have the necessary effectiveness to obtain a sustainable agreement.

They also reported that regional countries believe Raisi's government needs more guarantees because they don't think he would remain as the head of the state.

- The objectives of Shamkhani's tours

Shamkhani visited Abu Dhabi, where he met the President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. They discussed bilateral relations and ways to build bridges of cooperation between the two countries.

According to official Iranian media, Sheikh Mohammed asserted that the UAE seeks to remove misunderstandings with Iran.

Shamkhani also met the Emirati National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The official IRNA news agency quoted Shamkhani as saying during the meeting: "Cooperation and rapprochement must replace hostility and divergence in the region."

The Iranian official ended his visit with consultations with Emirati VP and Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

During Thursday's talks with his Emirati counterpart, Shamkhani called his UAE visit "a meaningful beginning for the two countries to enter a new stage of political, economic, and security relations," according to IRNA.

IRNA defended the government's foreign policy, saying that resolving the seven-year-old tension with Saudi Arabia is key to removing misunderstandings with other regional countries.

IRNA set several goals for Shamkhani's new mission, including the government's policy to ensure there is no delay or stagnation in diplomacy, noting that within this context, the doors in Vienna, Brussels, and New York would not remain closed.

It also addressed the possibility of achieving rational behavior with the countries of the region, especially Saudi Arabia.

Shamkhani's appearance in Iranian diplomatic events came after information circulated about a possible imminent change in the nuclear negotiating team, especially after the removal of chief negotiator Ali Bagheri-Kani.

Bagheri-Kani did not attend the talks held by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director, Rafael Grossi, earlier this month. However, he visited Muscat to discuss a prisoner exchange with the United States.

- "Rational" relations with the US

The Imam of Friday prayers in Qom, Hashem Hosseini-Bushehri, said that Iran has no problem establishing relations with the US if it takes a "rational" path with Tehran.

During the Friday prayers, the conservative cleric added that Tehran was determined to reconcile with its neighbors, with one exception: the Zionist entity.

According to the Fars news agency affiliated with the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, he indicated that if Washington were rational and submitted to the people's will, Tehran would not mind establishing relations.

Hosseini-Bushehri defended the government's foreign policy, saying conservatives, reformists, and all politicians must support what serves the country's security, asserting it was not time to settle political scores.

Friday imams across Iran welcomed the agreement with Saudi Arabia, and the Tehran Friday imam, Ali Haj Akbari, said it was based on the principle of pride, wisdom, and interest."

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