TEHRAN (Iran News) – The Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee has announced its agreement with the nomination of Hossein Amir Abdollahian as foreign minister, the committee spokesman said on Sunday.
Mahmoud Abbas-Zadeh Meshkini expressed hope that Amir Abdollahian would garner a high number of confidence votes in the parliament to be endorsed as foreign minister.
Amir Abdollahian was deputy foreign minister for Arab and North African affairs when Ali Akbar Salehi was foreign minister. He also held the post in the first three years of Mohammad Javad Zarif who took the helm at the Foreign Ministry in 2013. He also served as Iran’s ambassador to Bahrain.
Amir Abdollahian, 57, has a bachelor degree in diplomatic relations from the faculty of the Foreign Ministry, master’s and PhD degrees in international relations from the University of Tehran. He speaks Arabic and English.
Reportedly, he has no affiliation to reformist and principlist camps in and his focus is on national interests. Reportedly, he has also held talks with former EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and former British foreign secretary Philip Hammond after the British embassy was reopened in Tehran in August 2015.
He also served as foreign policy advisor to former parliament speaker Ali Larijani and the current speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf.
In the parliamentary session on Sunday a number of lawmakers talked in favor and against Amir Abdollahian.
Seyyed Salam Zaker, the representative of Urmia in the parliament, said why Amir Abdollahian have not paid attention to border areas during these years. The MP also asked why the foreign minister nominee has not strengthened parliamentary associations with neighboring countries during the years that he served as foreign policy advisor to parliament speakers and has not sought this demand from the government.
He also said the proposed foreign minister has not taken steps for “economic diplomacy”.
MP Ali Asghar Anabestani from Sabzvar said Amir Abdollahian should precisely elaborate on his “balanced policy” slogan in foreign policy areas and explain how he wants to realize the goals through such as policy in the next four years.
MP Hassan Mohammad Yari from Talesh and Rezvanshahr said it is necessary that the proposed foreign minister express his views about the Mena stampede incident and the U.S. terrorist act in assassinating Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and do the necessary diplomatic moves in connection with these two mishaps.
MP Mohsen Alizadeh from Sepidan favored the nomination of Amir Abdollahian as foreign minister and said it is expected that he will observe “revolutionary stance” in appointing his right-hand men.
MP Abbas Golrou from Semnan also defended the nominee for foreign minister, saying Amir Abdollahian has the competence to take leadership at the Foreign Ministry.
MP Abolfazl Amoui from Tehran said Amir Abdollahian has the competence to reform the Foreign Ministry.
“The proposed choice for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the aptitude to implement ideas (in foreign policy areas) and is capable of establishing coordination among all different political, security, military and diplomatic perspectives.”
Amoui, who sits on the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said pursuing efforts to implement the 25-year partnership between Iran and China, following strategic talks between Iran and Russia, joining the Eurasian Economic Union and the Shanghai Economic Cooperation Organization (SCO) and more importantly the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal and continuation of nuclear talks prove that a person should take the driver’s seat at the ministry that can handle all these issues. He said add these things developments in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq along with Iran’s talks with other countries.
I will use all my effort to make sanctions ineffective
Elaborating on his foreign policy priorities, the proposed foreign minister said he will use all his efforts to neutralize economic sanctions and cancel them.
“I will not link the Foreign Ministry to Barjam (JCPOA) and will use all efforts to neutralize sanctions along with cancellation of sanctions,” he explained.
The career diplomat also said, “We will never leave logical negotiating table that is afforded by power and wisdom. However, we will not link the Foreign Ministry to Barjam.”
He said all countries give priority to “national interests” and “national power” and “we also don’t not show oblivion to these issues by making ourselves committed to all values, Islamic principles and relying on our rich Iranian culture.”
He added, “We believe that through dignified diplomacy and capacities we can realize the slogan of ‘we can’ and achieve maximum rights and protect national interests in foreign policy.”
“Asia-centered foreign policy”
He went on to say that the foreign policy priority of the Ebrahim Raisi government is to prioritize relations with neighbors in particular and the Asian continent in general.
He said the three principles of “dignity”, “wisdom” and “expediency” will form the cornerstone of the Islamic Republic’s dynamic and smart foreign policy.
On a question by MP Anabestani who had asked him what he meant by balanced foreign policy, Amir Abdollahian said, “Balanced foreign policy means that the priority of the government of Dr. Raisi is” is good relations with neighbors and Asian countries “because the 21st century belongs to Asia and that we are witnessing the new emerging economic powers in Asia.”
Summarily, Amir Abdollahian said, the foreign policy of the Raisi government is “Asia-centered”.
The nominee for the post of foreign minister said his ministry will seek to use the “capacity of new emerging economic powers” for the progress of the country and increase “international business” in line with “improving the livelihoods” of Iranian people.
“We will honorably back resistance front”
The proposed minister added that he will try to “institutionalize” the international behavior of the resistance front and “we will honorably support the resistance front.”
When there is talk of balanced foreign policy it means that “our foreign policy will not be restricted to a single region or area, but it will include all continents.”
In following this policy certain countries are given “first priority”, he pointed out.
“However,” he added, “neighbor-centered and Asia-centered policy is the main priority and cementing relations with Muslim countries are defined within our balanced economic policy.”
“Capable persons needed to implement great plans”
Amir Abdollahian also said good plans are presented in the Iranian ministries but “the important is that we need capable and great persons to materialize these great plans.”