Hedge one’s bets

Hedge one’s bets

Ebrahim Raisi, who won the 13th Presidential Elections in Iran, gave important messages about the country’s foreign policy. Raisi indicated that Iran’s foreign policy will not be limited to the Nuclear Agreement emphasizing that his country wants to establish good relations with the neighboring countries. Raisi is also on the US’ sanction list. His messages include important key points on the Iran’s foreign policy on near future.  

Former president Rouhani’s fraction has a liberal worldview centered on the West, so they relied too much on the Nuclear Deal. They gained momentum with the positive results of the Nuclear Deal. However with the US withdrawal from the deal, they could not find an alternative. Raisi on the contrary stressed that his government will not tie the interests of the Iranian people to the Nuclear Deal. “We do not intend to negotiate the Nuclear Deal unless the interests of our country are guaranteed,” said Reisi, noting that not only the United States but also the European Union did not fulfill their responsibilities under the agreement. Raisi added they would adopt a broad and balanced interaction with all the countries of the world as a principle in foreign policy.

My observations in Iran indicate that Tehran will have good relations with Turkey, Pakistan and Iraq, and regionally with the Gulf and Egypt. In his speech, Raisi pointed out the 25-year agreement with China. His government presents the agreement as an indication of the process of dialogue and economic cooperation with China. They care about the relations with Russia. They will continue to defend the unity and territorial integrity of Syria. They seem to be keen to play a more active role in the Astana and Sochi processes as well.

On the other hand, Raisi also made it very clear that he would not meet with the US President Joe Biden. We will see an Iran that remains distant to the US but protects its national interests. There will be no change on the recognition of Israel and in the relations with that country.

Prof. Dr. Fouad Izadi, academic at the Tehran University evaluated the new foreign policy of Seyed Ebrahim Raisi for United World International:

The relations with Israel

“Iran’s policy to Zionist occupation on Palestine is quite clear: They need to end the occupation and apartheid state. These lands belong to the Palestinians. But Iran has said if Palestinians reach an agreement with the other side, Iran is not going to oppose. The problem is that Israel doesn’t want to reach an agreement with Palestine and they blame Iran about it. So Iran is not the problem, the problem they have is that they are racist and they put pressure on Palestinians, trying to create an apartheid state. That’s not going to survive and the Israeli state will be destroyed by their own doing because of the difficulties that they have.”

The relations with the neighboring countries

“In regard to neighbors, Iran has good relations with the neighboring countries. Especially due to the sanctions, more economic relations will develop with the neighbors. Ebrahim Raisi said in his debates that he wants to improve the relations with the neighboring countries, that’s what he wants to do. Even with countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE, Iran does not want any confrontation. The approach is that they are the neighbors of Iran and we don’t need any problem with them basically. Iran and Saudi Arabia have been talking and they made some progress. That’s the situation with the countries like Saudi Arabia. And the relationship is good with also Turkey, Pakistan and Iraq and that will continue. I think Mr. Raisi wants to improve the keys relations with the neighbors. Because unlike Mr. Rouhani, he doesn’t want to put the all his eggs into one basket of the Nuclear Agreement of talking to the West.”

Nuclear Deal and US policy

“With regard to the US, Iran is willing to the go back to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as long as the sides decide to do that. The problem we have that the US wants the change the concept of the JCPOA, they want to change some articles and they want to get more concession about the Iran’s foreign policy and defense policy. As long as they insist on this idea, they will not have an agreement. If they want to keep the sanctions and insist on this policy, they will make a mistake with regard to their policy on Iran.”

Yakup Aslan
Journalist (Iran) Yakup Aslan started journalism in 2013 at the Ulusal Channel in Turkey and he has been working as a representative of Ulusal Channel and Aydınlık Newspaper in Iran since 2015. Aslan is known in Iran with his interviews with prominent figures of Iran as Iranian Revolutionary Guards commanders, Iranian Army officials and Iranian Foreign Affairs. Aslan is the only private Turkish television representative in Iran and his analysis published on the different media organizations in Turkey and Iran.

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December 2023