How do you assess the role of the nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 group in easing tensions?
The Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly and through different channels announced its readiness for dialogue over common issues based on mutual respect. We believe that if all sides are ready for serious dialogue without pressure, threats or sanctions, all issues and ambiguities can be resolved, and this is in the interests of all sides. Of course, such a will must exist on all sides.
What is Iran's stance on the Syrian crisis and regional situation in the Middle East?
I believe that a major portion of the Syrian crisis is due to foreign interference there. Some foreign countries are trying to take advantage of the current situation in Syria and provoking the situation even further; they have created much trouble for the efforts made by the President Assad's government toward political and social reforms.
Some Western and Middle-Eastern countries have shown that they are not after real popular reforms, they are after regime change in Syria through supporting a small group of political extremists and the international community cannot accept such innovations in international laws.
The wise positions adopted by China and Russia in blocking the hegemonic moves shows that fortunately there are still powers in the international community that are after creating a suitable atmosphere for international interactions.
The Islamic Republic of Iran supports President Bashar Assad's peace-seeking measures in carrying out the democratic reforms in Syria and condemns acts of violence committed by some political forces and crime under the influence of foreign forces. Iran is calling for interaction among the political forces in Syria away from violence and supports the stability and territorial integrity of Syria, and strongly opposes any kind of foreign interference in Syria under any pretext.
What is your opinion about the Sino-Iranian relationship?
In recent years, Iran and China have been able to pave the way for expansion of their bilateral ties in political, economic and cultural arenas in an atmosphere filled with mutual trust. Currently our bilateral ties are at the highest and best level. Excellent political understanding exists between both countries and the high-ranking officials of both countries are in contact with each other and are in consultation with each other over many regional and international issues. There are close ties between both countries at ministerial and expert levels, too.
The trade and economic potential for Iran and China has provided much ground for the blossoming of bilateral trade and economic ties. The volume of trade between the two countries as of the end of 2011 exceeded $40 billion and Chinese companies are participating in some of Iran's industrial and energy projects. The outlook for Iran and China's economic and trade ties is very broad and promising. We are quite optimistic about the expansion of our ties.
Will trade and economic cooperation between China and Iran be affected by regional turmoil in the Middle East?
Any crisis, whether regional or international, is not without effects and consequences because all countries are members of the international community. The important question is whether Iran and China will have the ability to manage the crises and their effects on their bilateral relations or not.
The past experience has proven that Iran and China's will and motivation for further expansion of normal bilateral interests and ties would pave the ground for efforts on both sides to reduce the negative effects of crises on bilateral relations.
China is now boosting the development of its cultural industry. Do you think the move will present opportunities for cultural and social exchanges between China and Iran?
Cultural common ground and the ancient history and civilizations as well as cultural exchanges between our two countries throughout history have created many civilizational, historical and cultural ties between both countries. Cultural and civilizational features of Iran and China as outstanding oriental civilizations create much ground for comprehensive cooperation in many fields such as cinema, performing arts, music, poetry, literature and painting, among others, and certain initial agreements have been reached between the two countries for cooperating in such fields.
Some Iranian and Chinese publishers have agreed to cooperate in mutual publishing of the two countries major works of literature and some of these works will be published soon. In the past, some Iranian classical works of literature such as Mathnawi and Shahnameh have been translated into Chinese and published in China, whereas famous Chinese classics such as The Art of War and Dao De Jing have been translated into Persian and published in Iran, too.
Cooperation and exchange in cultural fields can act as the engine for further promoting the people-to-people and non-governmental exchanges, and we are very hopeful of such cooperation.