Iran's Raisi Reiterates Opposition to Nukes, Predicts NATO's Collapse

© Sputnik / Maxim Blinov / Go to the photo bankIranian President Ebrahim Raisi
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.01.2022
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The Iranian president arrived in Moscow on a two-day state visit on Wednesday at the invitation of his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. During their talks, the two leaders discussed bilateral ties, US sanctions, the Iran nuclear deal, joint anti-terrorism cooperation in Syria, and measures to create "synergy in cooperation" against the West.
The Islamic Republic of Iran does not have any intention to create nuclear weapons, President Ebrahim Raisi has said.
"We are not engaged in the creation of nuclear weapons, this is not part of our defense strategy," Raisi said, speaking before lawmakers in the Russian Duma on Thursday.
The Iranian president emphasised that Tehran is "very seriously" set on reaching an agreement with the United States on the reactivation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal, but only if America lifts its crushing sanctions. He added that the country's nuclear activities are legal and monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency watchdog.
Amid the ongoing tensions in Europe between Russia and NATO, Raisi expressed criticism for the Western alliance's actions, predicting that the bloc's current behaviour is going to lead to its eventual collapse.
"NATO is infiltrating the geographical space of various countries under various pretexts and covers, threatens independent nations, spreads the so-called 'Western model'. They oppose independent democracies, oppose the self-identification of peoples, cultures, traditions - all of this is on the NATO agenda, and this is a lie. We see the deceit in their behaviour, and this behaviour will ultimately lead to the alliance's disintegration," the Iranian president said.
Raisi slammed the West's efforts to impose hegemony on other countries, including through sanctions, and called on independent states to unite against this aggression.
"The imposition of sanctions against peoples is also one of the new forms of domination, and countering this domination requires the cooperation of independent states and a collective response. Otherwise, under various pretexts, they will impose sanctions. They even impose sanctions against their allies," Raisi said.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Kremlin. 19 January, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.01.2022
Iranian President Seen Performing Evening Prayer at Kremlin - Photo

Cooperation in Syria

Raisi went on to express gratitude to Moscow with regard to the cooperation Iran and Russia have enjoyed in Syria, saying this partnership could become a model for expanding bilateral ties in other areas.
"Of course, our successful model of cooperation between Iran and Russia in Syria became possible thanks to the resistance of the people and government of Syria [to terrorism]. This cooperation guarantees the independence of states, and will lead to lasting peace and security in the region. In this vein I would like to thank the Russian Federation for cooperation under the wise management of the Russian President, Mr. Putin. This can become an effective model for the development of our relations in various directions," Raisi said.
Raisi's visit was accompanied by behind-the-scenes economic negotiations between Russian and Iranian ministries. Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji told IRNA that the two countries had reached "good agreements" on the development of oil and gas fields, the creation of new oil refineries, and technology and equipment transfer.
On Wednesday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak confirmed that the two countries are "already implementing a number of major projects in the energy sector and other sectors of the economy," and that there were other "promising projects" in the works.
Media have also reported on a possible Russian loan to Iran for the purchase of Russian Sukhoi Su-35 4++ gen jet fighters. However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov declined to comment on the issue Thursday.
In his meeting with Putin on Wednesday, Raisi expressed readiness to expand Russian-Iranian ties to a "strategic" level, telling the Russian president that "amid external extraordinary conditions, when there is opposition to the unilateral actions of the West, including the United States, we can create synergy in our cooperation."
Iran's President-elect Ebrahim Raisi attends a news conference in Tehran, Iran June 21, 2021. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS  - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.01.2022
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