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The World as Viewed from Iran

What does Iran's Foreign Minister think of changes in the Middle East?

January 1, 2003

What does Iran's Foreign Minister think of changes in the Middle East?

Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi is an outspoken diplomat with a PhD in education — from the University of Houston, of all places. After the fall of Baghdad, his country is obviously not pleased about the increased U.S. military presence in the neighborhood. Neither is Mr. Kharrazi gleeful about the current situation of Iran's arch-enemy. Our Read My Lips examines his views on the Middle East.

What does Iran have in common with Iraq?

“The Iraqis and Iranians were the victims of Saddam.”

(April 2003)

What are the chances of Iraq becoming a country run by Muslim clerics?

“Iraq’s ethnic and religious diversity makes it an improbable candidate for an Islamic republic.”

(May 2003)

How would you describe your country's role in Iraq's reconstruction?

“Iran will help Iraq achieve a democratic and inclusive government.”

(May 2003)

Is the United States justified to complain about any interference?

“It is very interesting that the Americans have occupied Iraq — but they accuse [us as] Iraq’s neighbor of interfering in its affairs.”

(April 2003)

Has Iran ever pursued an aggressive foreign policy?

“Iran has never attacked any of its neighbors — but has withstood incursions.”

(April 2003)

Are perceptions of Iran changing abroad?

“Iranophobia is on the retreat.”

(September 1998)

How do you view Iran's mission for the Middle East as a whole?

“Iran’s role in the region is anchored on its policy of promoting peace, stability and security in this part of the world. And this principled policy will be pursued vigorously.”

(April 2003)

Would you welcome an increased European involvement?

“The European Union must play a greater role, bringing a semblance of fairness, justice and pragmatism to the dynamics of politics in the Middle East.”

(February 2002)

What kind of government should be established in Iraq?

“We welcome true democracy and a government run by the people in our neighboring country. But we won’t support one specific party.”

(April 2003)

Why do you think the UN needs to get involved in Baghdad?

“Only when a UN government takes control in Iraq will there be no more suspicions and accusations from other countries.”

(April 2003)

How do you view the progress of nation-building in Iraq?

“In Iraq, the policy of delay and procrastination in rebuilding the nation’s political and civil structures has raised grave concerns in the Islamic world and in the world community.”

(May 2003)

How should the United States look at Iran?

“The United States should welcome Iran’s positive role. Iran can play such a role because of its neighboring position with Iraq.”

(April 2003)

Do you foresee an actual improvement in U.S-Iranian diplomatic relations?

“The United States is not ready for the kind of relations based on mutual respect among countries.”

(April 2003)

Yet, you nurse your own suspicions against the coalition forces?

“Americans and British are working to establish a brand of monopolism in that country. Hence, American companies are signing numerous agreements — and plundering the legacy of the Iraqi people.”

(April 2003)

Is there any basis for U.S. accusations of Iranian interference in Iraq's political future?

“The United States should stop casting aspersions — and seek cooperation.”

(April 2003)

Who threatens Middle Eastern security the most?

“The international community’s ignoring of the Zionist regime’s weapons of mass destruction is a serious threat against a lasting peace and security in the region.”

(April 2003)

What is needed to improve the situation?

“A fundamental and final solution to the Palestinian issue can only be realized through an international consensus — with the United Nations playing a central role.”

(May 2003)

Is there a relationship between Islam and terrorism?

“Ascribing the fanatic and perverted beliefs of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorist organization to Islam and Muslim Ummah is a deceitful tactic — and a conspiracy to contain the spread of Islamism and Islamic tendencies in the world.”

(May 2003)

And finally, what are the challenges at home?

“It is not clear who is responsible for foreign relations. We are trying to prove that the Ministry is in charge of foreign relations.”

(May 2001)