By Khetam Malkawi – Jul 25,2015 – Last updated at Jul 25,2015
AMMAN — After more than eight years of delay, the 10th Jordanian-Iranian economic committee is expected to meet this year to review, update and reactivate several agreements, an Iranian diplomat told The Jordan Times.
Mojtaba Ferdousi Pour, the Iranian ambassador to Jordan, said in an interview that “serious and important” steps have been taken or are in the pipeline towards bolstering bilateral relations between Amman and Tehran. Appointing a Jordanian ambassador to Iran was just the beginning.
Jordan last year appointed an ambassador to Tehran after six years of low diplomatic representation of the Kingdom in the Islamic republic.
Before that, he explained, the interaction between the two countries was mainly through parliamentary delgations.
The meeting of the economic committee is expected to be the foundation of stronger ties between the two countries, according to the envoy, who noted that there are many documents and agreements that are no longer valid and need to be updated.
“There is an initial agreement to hold the meeting this year… this will also lead to forming other committees concerned with various issues such as political and security affairs,” Pour said.
He also underscored the importance of strengthening the ties between the people of the two countries, which “will eventually impact the state-to-state bilateral ties, especially since Arabic is the second spoken language in Iran”.
This can be through education and tourism, the envoy hoped, noting that Iranian pilgrims used to come to Jordan and visit holy places here on their way to Mecca.
The issue of Iranian pilgrims, who are interested in visiting certain shrines revered by Shiite Islam, has been a highly sensitive issue for Jordan, mainly for security reasons.
“We can also strengthen this through building railways that connect Jordan with Iraq and Iran and sending pilgrims to Mecca through Jordan.”
“We also want to bolster academic cooperation through universities, the exchange of students and even offering scholarships for Jordanian students,” Pour noted.
He also cited the Amman Message as a “positive” step made by Jordan that rendered the Kingdom a hub “for rapprochement between religions and different sects of Islam”.
The Amman Message started as a detailed statement released on November 9, 2004 by His Majesty King Abdullah II in Amman. It sought to declare what Islam is and what it is not, and what actions represent it and what actions do not. Its goal was to clarify to the modern world the true nature of Islam and the nature of true Islam, according to related literature.
“We believe that Jordan has the ability to moderate an Arab-Iranian dialogue,” to live in peace in the same region, according to the diplomat, who added that the dialogue can start from Jordan and expand to the rest of the region.
Syria and regional issues
As for the situation in Syria and Iran’s role in cooling down the conflict there especially after reaching a deal on the nuclear programme and the change of Iran’s role in the region, Pour said his country and Jordan share the same view, which is urging a political solution to the conflict, noting that his country proposed two initiatives in this regard.
In one of the initiatives, Iran suggested that all factions in Syria come together for negotiations, enforce immediate ceasefire with no interference in Syria’s affairs, stop the flow of arms and terrorist groups to Syria and form a national unity government.
“We have had two rounds of negotiations in this regard, bringing together regime and opposition figures in Tehran,” the envoy explained, stressing that the military solution will never be an appropriate solution, not only for the crisis in Syria, but also in other conflicting countries in the region.
However, Iran has not had so far any negotiations with world powers over regional issues, according to Pour, as his country was involved with the nuclear negotiations over the past 12 years, leaving no margin for moves concerning regional issues.
As for Iran’s relations with Gulf countries and the impact of the nuclear deal on these relations, Pour said Tehran’s relations with the Gulf are interlaced. He said the security of this region can be achieved through realising the common goals of all players.
However, “after lifting the economic sanctions on Iran, the foundation for bolstering economic relations with the Gulf countries is there,” the envoy said, adding that obstacles will be removed in result and there will be foundations for trust-building between them and Iran.
According to the envoy the perception of the so called “Iran’s threat and expansionism” is just a “conspiracy” to keep Iran away from the Islamic region.
But, he stressed that his country wants to help and benefit the region through the scientific developments achieved, especially the nuclear programme and its use for peaceful purposes.
– See more at: http://www.jordantimes.com/news/local/iran-wants-dialogue-region-through-jordan#sthash.Yy5DI9ei.dpuf
The Amman message http://www.theammanmessage.com having originated (of course) in Amman, Jordan has in a way a duty to actively try to improve relations with our Shiah brothers. This is an opportunity.