Iran's Amir-Abdollahian: Diplomacy, dialogue best way to resolve Ukraine crisis

Iran’s Amir-Abdollahian: Diplomacy, dialogue best way to resolve Ukraine crisis

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says recourse to diplomacy and promotion of dialogue constitute the best way to resolve the current crisis in Ukraine, reiterating the Islamic Republic’s opposition to war in any part of the world.

Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks in a Thursday phone call with his Serbian counterpart, Nikola Selakovic, during which the two sides discussed bilateral relations as well as the most important international developments, including the ongoing Russian military operation in neighboring Ukraine.

Referring to the latest moves by the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with regard to the war in Ukraine, Iran’s foreign minister said “diplomatic path, dialogue and prevention of further spread of war constitute the most real way” to settle the Ukrainian crisis.

Iran’s top diplomat also reiterated the Islamic Republic’s opposition to war and imposition of unilateral sanctions on countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” on February 24 to demilitarize Donetsk and Luhansk, largely populated by ethnic Russians, in eastern Ukraine.

The United States and its European allies have labeled the military operation as “Putin’s land grab,” imposing unprecedented sanctions on Moscow, which stresses that it will halt the operation instantly if Kiev meets Russia’s list of demands, including never applying to join NATO.

‘Iran determined to achieve a good agreement’

Elsewhere in his remarks, Amir-Abdollahian reflected on the negotiations in the Austrian capital with the goal of restoring Iran’s landmark 2015 deal with world powers, saying, “Iran is determined to achieve a good, strong and lasting agreement” through the Vienna talks.

“Instead of putting forth excessive demands and slowing down the talks, the American side must adopt a realistic approach,” Iran’s top diplomat said.

He added that China, Russia and three European members of the Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have been taking constructive position during the talks.

Amir-Abdollahian said the European Union, especially its foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, and his deputy, Enrique Mora, who also acts as the coordinator of the Vienna talks, have been playing an active role in the Vienna talks.

The Serbian foreign minister, for his part, said his country supports protection of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and believes in a diplomatic path to promote peace in the region.

Selakovic also expressed hope that the Vienna talks will reach a decisive conclusion in the near future.

Negotiations have been held in the Austrian capital since last April to restore the Iran deal, which was ditched by former US President Donald Trump in May 2018.

In quitting the agreement, Trump introduced what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign to bring Iran to its knees. Tehran maintains that the policy has failed dismally. The Joe Biden administration agrees, yet it has not taken any tangible steps to deliver on its promise of repealing the policy.

In recent months, Iran has cited Washington’s indecisiveness as the reason behind the protraction of the talks, as a number of key issues remain unresolved, ranging from the removal of all post-JCPOA sanctions to the provision of guarantees by the American side that it will not leave the deal again.

The other parties to the talks – Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany – have also noted that the negotiators are close to finalizing an agreement.