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Removal of sanctions will open room for any deal: Raeisi

Frame grab from Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi’s live television interview on January 25, 2022

President Ebrahim Raeisi says an agreement with the parties to the 2015 accord is only possible if the cruel sanctions against the Iranian nation are removed. 

“If the parties are ready to lift the oppressive sanctions against the Iranian people, there is room for any agreement,” the president said during a live television interview on Tuesday.

Iran and the other parties to a 2015 agreement are negotiating in Vienna, Austria, with the aim of getting the United States to remove the sanctions and return to compliance with the deal.

The Islamic Republic, however, is not directly negotiating with the United States since Washington unilaterally left the accord in 2018 and returned the sanctions that the deal had lifted. 

President Raeisi reiterated that the removal of the sanctions could lead to the agreement’s revival. “If the other party removes the sanctions, there will be a possibility to revive the pact.”

‘Not everything rests on negotiations’

The Iranian president, however, asserted that not everything relied on the negotiations. “We will pursue the negotiations, but it is not like the negotiations solve everything.”

Besides trying to have the sanctions removed, the government is also trying to “neutralize the sanctions,” he said, adding that proper economic relations with the neighbors constitute one way of negating the bans.

Govt. after striking balance in foreign relations

The president said his administration was determined to enhance Iran’s economic and commercial relations with foreign countries, which he said were not as advanced as its political ties.

“We should establish some [form of] balance in the country’s foreign relations,” Raeisi noted.

For instance, the president said, the country could unlock a massive economic and trade capacity in its relations with its 15-strong neighbors.

He said his recent trip to Tajikistan was followed by a triple increase in the volume of the bilateral business relations.

Raeisi said his trips to Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan also led to positive developments in the Islamic Republic’s economic relations with the ex-Soviet republics.

By the same token, the roughly-$3-billion volume of economic relations with Russia could be enhanced to as much as $10 billion, he said.

Breaking dollar's dominance

Regarding his recent trip to Russia, President Raeisi said the meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow featured discussions over bilateral and regional issues "with the countries' [respective] national interests as the centerpiece."

The trip, Raeisi said, should result in expansion of the bilateral relations in such fields as energy, agriculture, and industry.

"Exports of [Iranian] agricultural products and imports of strategic commodities from Russia, given the possibility of eliminating [trade] tariffs, were among the issues that were discussed," he added.

Raeisi said the visit "was accompanied by smiles, but smiles alone do not do anything in favor of the people. Interaction with the world and trips [like this] should result in development of [the concerned parties'] fields of energy, industry, and the peoples' lives."

The Iranian president noted that the two sides discussed "the need for breaking the US dollar's dominance on the countries' monetary and financial interactions.

"I and Mr. Putin agreed that a lot of commercial transactions between the two sides could be done using [each side's] national currency," Raeisi said.

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