Below is a rush transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Let’s look at some of the statements today made by… we have Iran’s Foreign minister Mr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, and also Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign policy chief, that said that Iran can play a major role in the region and that the European Union (EU) and Iran can definitely increase their ties. Your perspective on that? How likely do you think that is going to happen?
Marandi: Well, Iran is already playing a very major role in the region. It is by far the most important and powerful country in this part of the world and its very late in the day for the Europeans to finally recognize that. I think the Europeans recognize that this region is facing major upheaval and that they need Iran today to help create stability more than ever before. Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, are all key areas which are highly unstable and unfortunately countries like Saudi Arabia are playing a major part in this instability. In fact, yesterday, the Iraqi Prime Minister basically said that the Saudis and the Qataris are waging war against Iraqi people.
So, the EU, I think, may be coming to the point where it recognizes that it has to change its policy towards Iran in order to fight against terrorism. And also the Europeans need Iran economically. Europe is in crisis and declining. Asia is on the rise. The Europeans and the Russians are now in major conflict. They could have had Iranian gas through gas pipelines, but they created a monopoly by placing an embargo on Iran and weakening their own positions. So, through confrontation with the Iranians, the Europeans have hurt themselves immensely economically and politically. And Iran continues to be a very important and definitely the most important country in the region.
Press TV: Another comment by President [Hassan] Rouhani today, he said that Iran is determined to have constructive interaction with the European Union and also talked about restoring economic ties. Do you think that Iran and the European Union can actually have regular ties and economic ties based on equality? Will the EU treat Tehran as an equal partner?
Marandi: Well, that’s the major question I think. President Rouhani has opened the door. He’s basically saying that we’re open for business. We’re willing to cooperate at all levels. But at the end of the day, it’s the European who have to make a decision. Do they want to change their attitude towards Iran? Do they want to behave in a more realistic and reasonable manner towards the Islamic Republic of Iran? If so, then I think rapprochement is something that is quite possible. But if the European Union does not have the will or if it allows the Americans and the Israelis to pressure them and prevent rapprochement, then the ball will remain in their court.
At the moment the Europeans are suffering more than Iranians as a result of the tension. They’ve created a monster in Syria. Al-Qaeda has spread across the border and it’s a major threat to Europe. They’ve created a major gas monopoly by imposing an embargo on Iran and they’ve also, through the sanctions, hurt their own local businesses just as much as they’ve been hurting Iranian businesses.
So the Europeans need Iran to bring back stability, to do away with oil and gas monopolies and to increase wealth among their own people and the people of this region as well because basically the ball is in their court.
By Press TV
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