Vienna agreement helps int’l community strengthen regional security, says Austrian FM

TEHRAN (ISNA)- Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz lauded the agreement between Iran and G5+1, saying that the agreement provides the international community with an opportunity to help more for establishing peace and security in the region.

Kurz arrived in Iran on Monday at top of a high-ranking political and economic delegation.

The full text of his interview with ISNA comes as follows:

Q: It’s been about two months since the agreement in Vienna, and concerns about the Congress rejecting the agreement have increased considerably. As a member of the Europe­an Union, what will your opinion be if the agreement is rejected by Congress?

A: While we have to take concerns seriously, we are convinced that the agreement is in the interest of all concerned parties and I am therefore confident that the Vienna Agreement will not be rejected by Congress.

Q: What is your opinion about Barjam (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)? Do you think this is a win-win agreement for all and will benefit international peace and se­curity?

A: The Vienna agreement is a good deal, provided that it will be implemented. It provides us with a chance to contribute to more stability and security for the whole region. But the agreement has significance beyond the Middle East. With nume­rous crises worldwide the Vienna Agreement is proof that change is possible if all sides show the necessary political will.

Q: In your opinion, what was the most important factor in the success of the negotiations?

A: A sense of opportunity and the readiness to find compromise when all sides prove such readiness, even complex and difficult issues can be resolved peacefully through dialogue and negotiations.

Q: Among political, economic, cultural, tourism, art, music, etc., which areas do you think Iran and Austr­ia can have the greatest and best collaboration in? How do you see the future of bilateral relations?

A: All these areas have great potential. Besides the political and economic area t­here are numerous other fields with interesting opportunities: cooperation in to­urism, schools for tourism and management of hotels, higher education, protection of the environment. Arts and fostering mutual cultural understanding are further areas of cooperation, given Iran’s rich cultural heritage and Austria’s cultural presence in Tehran since 1958 with our Cultural Forum. We also have a cont­inuing interreligious dialogue between Muslim and Christian scholars since 1993. In short, there is huge potential for further intensification and broadening of our bilateral relations in many fields.

Q: As the host of the nuclear talks, Au­stria has had a very successful experience. Is your country prepared to be the host or mediator in other international and regional issues, such as that of Syria?

A: Austria is host country to many UN and other international organizations and was glad of having provided Vienna as venue for the talks. This was done in the longstanding tradition of Vienna as venue for dialogue. In this sense we would obviously also be prepared to host other talks if needed. With regard to Syria, the terrible civil war and the violence a­gainst civilians has to be stopped. We fully support United Nations Special Envo­y de Mistura in his efforts to find a solution.

Q: How do you think regional problems and the Syrian crisis can be solved and an end can be put to all the violence?

A: I believe the Vienna Agreement with Iran has the potential to create new dynamics in the Middle East. In view of all the challenges in the region Iran and others can play a constructive role not only in the fight against terror organizations such as Da’esh, but also by using ­their influence to end the violence in Syria and in other conflicts in the region.

Q: I’d like to ask you to explain how you made preparations and predictions for handling negotiations, especially setting up the press center tent in front of the Palais Coburg. How did you come by such a decision? What were the sweetest and al­so the most difficult days of nuclear negotiations (between Iran and 5+1) for you?

A: Of course, as a good host we had to make sure that we provide the necessary infrastructure and environment for successful negotiations. We set up the tent because it was the only way to host more than 650 journalists as close as possible to the venue of the negotiations and dur­ing the high season of tourism in Vienna. Clearly, the sweetest moment was the point of bringing the negotiations to a successful end with the Vienna agreement.