The chairman of the influential National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Islamic Republic’s parliament has once again called for closer ties with the East.
Reacting to John Bolton’s appointment as the new U.S. National Security Adviser, Alaeddin Boroujerdi said on Saturday, March 24, “The use of hardline elements against the Islamic Republic of Iran shows that the Americans seek to exert more pressure on Iran."
In an interview with state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA), Boroujerdi, a long-time supporter of expanding ties with Beijing and Moscow, added that, as far as he knows, recent development in Washington makes the move toward Russia and China more urgent.
Many analysts believe that John Bolton’s appointment is the final nail in the coffin of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
Boroujerdi, 68, a close ally of the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also insisted that Tehran must continue its active presence in the Middle East and “turn to Eastern countries” to “thwart US policies”.
"We must strengthen our relations with important countries like China and Russia, which have also been subjected to US sanctions and face serious challenges from that country," Boroujerdi added.
"China and Russia are two important and influential members of the [UN] Security Council and the expansion of relations will help neutralize and reduce the impact of US pressure," the hardline MP said.
Boroujerdi believes that Israel is behind Washington’s “harsher stance vis-à-vis Tehran”, noting, “U.S. policy is mainly aimed at appeasing the Israeli regime and Saudi Arabia to solve Washington's economic issues. Therefore, it was predictable that we would witness toughener US policies in this regard."
Furthermore, Boroujerdi asserted, “The US president has always sought to destroy the landmark nuclear agreement.”
Earlier, long before John Bolton’s appointment as the U.S. National Security Adviser, Boroujerdi had repeatedly encouraged Tehran to expand its relations with Beijing and Moscow.
In an interview with state-run Mehr News Agency (MNA) on March 18, Boroujerdi maintained, “Iran should turn further toward East and its neighbors and do great businesses with countries like Russia and China as that is definitely the best option Iran has.”
Moreover, on March 5, the Islamic Republic’s official news agency, IRNA, cited Boroujerdi as telling an international conference held in Saratov, Russia, “Iran, Russia and China should boost bilateral and multilateral relations with countries like India, Pakistan and Turkey and establish new frameworks for economic cooperation in the region.”
He called for the establishment of a new economic mechanism in the region given the US President Donald Trump's “irrational” policies, IRNA reported.
However, the Islamic Republic has always looked at Beijing and Moscow as its “strategic allies”. While Russia has been given the unprecedented right to use military airbases in Iran, China has flooded the country with its products, regarded as low quality by Iranian consumers.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump has called on the European powers to "fix" what he has called "the terrible flaws" of the 2015 nuclear deal or he will refuse to extend U.S. sanctions relief for Iran as required under the deal in exchange for curbs on Iran's nuclear activities.
President Trump has laid down a May 12 deadline for reaching an agreement with the Europeans, which are among the six world powers that signed the deal negotiated by Trump's predecessor Barack Obama.
In a passing reference to Washington’s stance vis-à-vis Tehran, the Islamic Republic’s Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, in a speech on Saturday, March 24, described “U.S. political shenanigan” as “foolish”.
Eshaq Jahangiri reiterated, “We shall see after May 12, if Americans are trustworthy or not.”