Tehran Calls for More Talks With EU
TEHRAN - Iran said Monday that EU sanctions over its human rights record were due to “differing values” but that they should not derail dialogue with Europe.
“We have certain differences of opinion with European countries and the European Union,” foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said at his weekly press conference.
“That is due in part to differing values between our region and the Islamic republic of Iran and the European Union, notably as concerns human rights,” he said.
The EU on Thursday extended by a year sanctions against 82 individuals and an entity accused of “serious human rights violations in Iran”.
Qasemi said long-running dialogue with the EU should continue, focusing on areas of agreement and in “a constructive atmosphere of good will”.
“In the coming months, there will be several delegations to discuss different subjects and not just human rights,” he said. “I hope that this can happen in a more positive atmosphere.” The EU sanctions -- first imposed in the wake of the crackdown on the 2009 protest movement in Iran -- block exports of equipment “which might be used for internal repression and of equipment for monitoring telecommunications”.
Meanwhile he said the Israeli regime’s recent deadly attack on the T-4 airbase in Syria will not remain unanswered.
Qassemi said, “The aggression on Syrian soil is illegal. That is because of Israel’s hostile policies vis-à-vis the Muslim people in the region, and Israel will receive the necessary response sooner or later. They cannot take an action [as such] with impunity.”
He also condoled with the families of the Iranian military advisors killed in the Israeli strike.
He expressed condolences to the families of the beloved Iranian military advisors, and warned Tel Aviv that “gone are the days of ‘hit and run’ for Israel.”
“Resistance forces in the region are able to respond at the right place and the right time.”
He said no legal action has been taken in this regard, but some [related] issues have been discussed.
Israel struck the T-4 Airport in the city of Homs a few days ago. At least seven Iranian military advisors were killed in the incident and several others wounded.
He also added that the U.S. was dismayed at not being present in the Astana Talks on Syria, and thus launched the recent strikes to divide Iran, Russia and Turkey, the guarantor states of a ceasefire in the war-torn state.
Qasemi touched upon the U.S. lawmakers’ objection to Washington not attending the negotiations as well as the United States’ possible presence in the upcoming meetings.
“I don’t believe the U.S. will ever end its hostile approach. Given the country’s domestic issues together with certain problems which exist in Arab countries, the US believes its survival is contingent upon warmongering and triggering conflicts.”
Qasemi pointed to the recent airstrikes by the US-led coalition on Syria, and said, “The countries that have caused this tragedy and committed this crime have no right to interfere in the Syria issue without documented evidence and the approval of the representatives of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).”
“They should try their utmost to make up for this strategic mistake of theirs,” said Qasemi.
The spokesman also touched upon the impact of the US-led Syria attack on regional developments.
“Europe is not necessarily on the same page as France and Britain are, and European countries have different stances. We will continue our negotiations with European countries. There have been, and will be differences of opinion between us and Europe, but one of the reasons behind that move (military action against Syria) was to sow discord among the three countries (Iran, Russia, Turkey) which [seek to] guarantee a ceasefire takes hold in Syria and maybe they (the US, France, Britain) were not pleased with the successful outcome of the Astana talks,” he added.
“This is a pipe dream because these three countries (Iran, Russia, Turkey) will keep working together to establish stability in, and safeguard the territorial integrity of Syria despite their differences of opinion, which have existed since the past,” said the spokesman.
The spokesman also referred to Turkey’s support for the U.S.-led missile attack on Syria.
“From the beginning when we started this trend, we didn’t have a common stance and each one of us had a different position on Syria,” said Qasemi.
“During the successful talks held in Astana, despite the agreements and progress made, we were divided on some issues, and this meeting does not mean the three countries are in full agreement,” the spokesman noted.
“Regrettably, some countries welcomed the [US-led] attack against Syria on Mab’ath Day, and we are not happy with it and we think it was not a nice thing to do,” he noted.
“However, we should pursue the growing trend of Astana talks with full force and without allowing jealous people [to disrupt the process],” he said.
“One of the objectives of the attack was to trigger divisions between the three countries holding talks in Astana, and these three countries should remain vigilant and tread the same path as before to uproot terrorism and prevent the disintegration of Syria,” Qasemi said.