(photo credit: REUTERS)
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi hinted Tuesday that Iran would use the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) conference to deflect Western sanctions crippling the Iranian economy.
Speaking in an English-language interview with Time and Al-Monitor on the sidelines of the NAM summit in Tehran, Salehi said "we want unilateral sanctions refuted by the participants."
Pressed that sanctions were not "unilateral," but rather the chosen strategy of a number of countries trying to discourage the Islamic Republic from proceeding with its illicit nuclear program, Salehi clarified that he considers "unilateral" any action not taken by the United Nations.
"You cannot claim your eagerness for democracy, human rights and all these things and through unilateral sanctions, try to put all sorts of suffering and hardship to other people. This is a contradiction," said Salehi.
The Iranian foreign minister indicated a willingness for compromise over Iran's nuclear program vis-à-vis the ongoing P5+1 negotiations. "We recognize their worries and we are ready to mitigate and alleviate," he said. However, he insisted that Iran has a right to "peaceful nuclear activities including the right to enrichment and the complete fuel cycle."
Turning to Egypt, Salehi said the upcoming visit of newly-elected President Morsy would be a "landmark" in bilateral relations. "We welcome very warmly the presence of President Morsy in Iran," Salehi said. The visit will mark the first such visit by an Egyptian head of state since 1979 Islamic revolution and Egypt's recognition of Israel.