Interview with President Hassan Rouhani

TV HOSTESS: The Christian New Year started under severe security measures in most countries of the world, especially European countries. The first terrorist attack happened minutes after the beginning of the Christian New Year in our neighboring country, Turkey, leaving 39 dead and more than 40 wounded. What is Iran’s position on these changes? The Bishkek conference in Kyrgyzstan is on the way. About the changes which happened in Syria after liberation of Aleppo, which was a huge success for Syrian army and Resistance Forces. In general, what is Iran’s position, as the main player in the Middle East, on all these changes juxtaposed?


ROUHANI: Iran plays a very significant, constructive role in the region. Some did not recognize this role in the past, but I think today the overwhelming majority of countries in the world admit the highly essential role of Iran in stabilizing the region. We pursue several goals in the region which are important for us, and we find them to be in the interest of the whole region. The first one is stability and security in the region. If the countries of this region seek to grow, improve and interact with each other, there is no other way but stability.


He continues, “Insecurity, civil war, invasion of one country by another can be very dangerous. The second goal is fighting terrorism. Terrorism is a grave danger for our whole region, for the whole world. I am very glad that our great nation enjoys an extraordinary security in Iran.”


Rouhani adds, “I am grateful to all the forces that created this security for us. Our government, thank God, has had an impressive success in, at least, achieving those two blessings that our Prophet considered as unknown; namely, security and health. And this was achieved by assistance of people and others.”


He also says, “It is very important that we have had the best security in the past 3-4 years in our country– even in Sistan and Baluchestan, even in the most western provinces, in all regions in the country. We should thank all the forces, including the intelligence, security, army, revolutionary guards, Basij and police for this


Rouhani adds, “They have done a great job. So the second issue is fighting terrorism. Any countries which have asked us for help in this regard, we have not hesitated. Whether it was Iraq, or Syria, or others, we have helped them all. Terrorism is on the verge of defeat in the region, which is very important.”


He continues, “In the past couple of years, a very significant movement against terrorism has started. The third issue is refusing to change geographical borders. Some plan to divide Syria, some want to divide Iraq, and some are after dividing Yemen. We are basically and totally opposed to changing geographical borders. In order to solve the issues of the region, we believe in resistance, confrontation and also diplomacy.” “Diplomacy and resistance are the two sides of the same coin. If there is no resistance, nothing can be done with diplomacy alone. If there is resistance, [again] nothing can be done without diplomacy. We consider diplomacy as the final solution for both Yemen and Syria, as well as most of the countries which are facing problems today.”

Rouhani also adds, “However, in order to prepare the grounds, terrorism must be defeated, of course. We also helped Syrian people and Syrian army in resisting against terrorism. You and our people witnessed the recent victories in Syria. We were also active in using diplomacy


He says, “We are constantly in contact with Syria, Russia and other countries in the region. We are also in contact with Turkey. You recently saw the development of trilateral relations among Iran, Russia and Turkey besides Syria. These countries were able to take good steps. And we hope to achieve another success in diplomacy in the region during the upcoming Kyrgyzstan conference in Bishkek.”


TV HOST: Dr. Rouhani, some tried to say that the ceasefire agreement in Syria has nothing to do with Iran; Russians and Turks were the ones who initiated the agreement. Was this really true? Although your excellency has been regularly in contact with them…


ROUHANI: Iran has a very key role in fighting terrorism and defeating terrorists as well as using diplomacy. These two can become successful at the same time, God willing. We hope that people of Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain and other countries fraught with problems, like Libya can truly overcome their problems. We hope that the region will have safe conditions.


He adds, “We’d like to have economic relations with Iraq, with Turkey. You mentioned what happened in the beginning of the Christian new year in Turkey. Unfortunately, people witnessed it in Istanbul. The massacre of a bunch of innocent, defenseless human beings is condemned from each and every aspect. This shows that terrorism have no mercy on anyone. It is a virus which will strike all, unless we confront and destroy it. In general, I’m glad about the region’s current conditions. Of course, we have a long way to go in order to achieve total security.”