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EghtesadOnline: Iran seeks mutual respect that serves shared interests in its relations with Europe, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

A senior Iranian diplomat stressed on Monday that relations between Iran and Europe require the common will of both sides to be enhanced.

“We seek mutual respect that serves shared interests, and Europe is no exception,” Nasser Kanaani said at a regular press briefing on Monday, ISNA reported.

He added that the Iranian government’s focus on expanding ties with neighboring countries and the East and Asia region does not mean a disregard for other geographical regions.

“But relations between countries are two-sided.”  

Kanaani said Europe has lost a considerable amount of time to strengthen its relations with Iran, adding that it is now up to the bloc to correct its past mistakes.

He did not give details but was likely referring to the European countries’ failure to act against the United States’ sanctions after it withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Some European countries have recently introduced political initiatives which Iran welcomes and deems positive, according to Kanaani.

“We will take a positive step in proportion to each of their steps,” he said.

Highlighting Iran’s good ties with many European countries, the diplomat emphasized that the world is not restricted to a few European powers and the US.

In his New Year remarks, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei had also said that the enemies’ efforts to isolate Iran have failed, as the Islamic Republic has consolidated its ties with Asia, Africa and Latin America.

He also noted that Iran is not unfriendly with Europe either, and is ready to work with them if they stop following the US.  

Iran’s relations with the West improved after the JCPOA was signed, but went downhill again when the US pulled out and reimposed tough sanctions on Tehran, which reacted by scaling down its commitments.

Talks have been underway for about two years to revive the deal, but have reached a stalemate over final differences.

Kanaani said the government of President Ebrahim Raisi has not abandoned the negotiations and pursues it alongside plans to diversify the country’s foreign relations.  

“Based on previous negotiations and drafts, Iran is ready to conclude a deal and prepare the ground for its implementation, on condition that all partis return to their commitments,” he said, adding that Tehran’s approach is comprehensive and involves all regional and non-regional players.

Lasting Ceasefire

The Foreign Ministry spokesman was also asked about the latest developments regarding Yemeni peace efforts.

Yemen has been gripped by a civil war since 2015 where Iran-aligned Houthi fighters fight against a Saudi-led military alliance in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands and left 80% of Yemen’s population dependent on humanitarian aid.

The Oman-mediated consultations between Riyadh and Sanaa and the parallel UN peace efforts have gained momentum after Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to re-establish ties in a deal brokered by China.

Along this line, Saudi and Omani delegations held talks with Houthi officials in Yemen’s capital Sanaa on Sunday.

Kanaani said Iran has always contributed to Oman’s peace initiatives and remains ready to provide help to both negotiating parties, as well as the UN, if needed, he said.

He said Tehran supports a lasting ceasefire in Yemen which would result in the complete lifting of a Saudi-led blockade on Yemeni ports and the delivery of humanitarian aid to the poverty-stricken people without restrictions.

He hoped the new state of affairs in the region, marked by Tehran-Riyadh reconciliation, would help a lasting ceasefire in Yemen and pave the way for sustainable peace in the war-torn country.

Europe Closer Ties With Europe