Interview of Georgi Koritarov with Elena Poptodorova
18/04/2018
  • Television Europe, the show is a Free Zone, I’m Georgi Koritarov

If you read Iranian-language English sites, including Ali Khamenei’s site, it is the personal site of Iran’s supreme spiritual leader, or the Iranian news agency IRNA, or a publication like the Tehran Times must have impressed you with information and analysis. related to the impending fate of the Five Plus One nuclear deal, which in 2015 during the administration of President Barack Obama created a sense of closure of one of the most controversial pages related to suspicions that the Islamic Republic was preparing to acquisition of nuclear weapons. Now, however, under President Trump, the United States is preparing for May 12 to announce the expected withdrawal from the agreement. Against this background, Mohammed Jafad Zarif, who is the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic, has repeatedly stated that the US withdrawal will lift any commitments from Iran to the agreement. to say in the Iranian media that the European Union considers that the agreement with Iran is being fully implemented. Against this background, however, if the United States moves towards such a sharp movement – withdrawal from the agreement – and you remember that during the 67th session of the UN General Assembly, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was then prime minister, had painted a bomb as a picture. and showed that another ten percent remained for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. Israel is very active in saying that an Israel-Iran clash is imminent. Two days ago, Danny Yaton, a former Mossad director, appeared in the Jerusalem Post with detailed material. That is why my question to Ms. Poptodorova now is: “What will the world look like after the withdrawal of the United States from the nuclear agreement with Iran, or can the European Union compensate for such a withdrawal?

  • This is another proof that such neural issues – we are already talking about the agreement with Iran – cannot be effective without the participation of the United States. I mean, as I witnessed the process of approving this agreement then, in recent months, under President Obama, that this vote was extremely difficult in the United States Congress. And unlike other issues, it was not a pure party-Republican Democrat division. There is a fear, a constant fear, especially among the American political circles regarding Iran. So it was difficult to pass the agreement, to vote in Congress and the Senate, and I don’t think it would be that difficult to withdraw that agreement from Congress’s point of view. This agreement will not be the same. I do not know whether Europe will be able to compensate for the eventual… Great Britain in its disenfranchised position if it tries to fill a vacuum in terms of guarantees, in terms of such a foreign policy burden. But the truth is that the problem with Iran is much broader, much bigger, and it will develop as such. Again with regard to Syria and in relation to Syria. And through Syria with Israel. I did not accidentally mention this Israeli strike on… in fact on the Air Defense Base, which is actually Iran’s. There are many, in fact I do not remember the number exactly, in any case several of its bases in Syria. And from then on, the engagement with Hezbollah, in my opinion, gives a perspective that is very worrying for Europe itself. On the one hand, we have already accepted that the military wing of Hezbollah is a terrorist organization…
  • With the bright merit of Mr. Tsvetanov and Bulgaria.
  • That’s right, and of Bulgaria, and on the other hand, when we say, when we say we speak “the European Union”, let me clarify myself. On the other hand, we accept such a political agreement with Iran, which is strongly subject to these relations – Iran – Israel, hence Syria – Hezbollah. This is a dichotomy, this is an internal contradiction that is difficult to contain. “And it will be cut, as they say with a sword, if the United States withdraws from the agreement, whatever its attitudes and expectations.” It will be an unequivocal alibi and a green light for Israel to take offensive action. “But Israel can’t do it alone.” I repeat – there will be no action if it has not received support, albeit tacit support from the United States. And here the question is how will the decision-making process develop in the United States itself?
  • The fact that Netanyahu has repeatedly expressed the position that Israel will not allow the presence of Iran as a base, as the armed forces in Syria in close proximity to itself means that Israel has already received the green light to defend its security. Withdrawal of the United States from the Agreement will at least intensify Israel’s behavior against Iranian bases in Syria.
  • I don’t know if you feel that I am always pulling you to Europe. America is more or less clear. But I always draw you to our corner, to our degree of responsibility.
  • And is our corner a corner and do we have a sense of responsibility? “I don’t think so!” And this is the trouble, because we are all inside, the European Union, it is there. And it is not possible to have a single banquet understanding of this agreement with Iran. Is Europe interested in Iran’s presence in Syria? Do we want that? I don’t think so! Do we want Hezbollah?
  • Are they wondering if they want it, the European Union?
  • I think not! I miss that, what worries me when I read the Council’s latest conclusions – they are all true, they are wonderful, “we want peace, we want a diplomatic solution, we want humanitarian access”, what a textbook should say. This political correctness will suffocate us. That is why I am very worried. “It’s called infantilism, let me tell you.” Because correctness is built on conscious interests, and what is this type of behavior? It is not correctness.
  • That’s right, I use the term ironically, because we wave it for good and bad. And it became meaningless, it became a cheap term. And if there is no serious meeting, it will not pass with only one, but if there is no serious meeting of the European Union through its representatives – ministers of war, foreign ministers, at which these issues will be discussed.
  • And now imagine for a moment that a meeting of the foreign ministers of the European Union is being held. What should be done about the case, not even Syria, but about the more acute situation – the United States is coming out? Twenty-eight, if Britain participates, or twenty-seven, if they prudently refuse “we will not participate”, will speak not 27 but 54 languages, because each minister speaks at least one official language and one alternative language. And they cannot be understood in any way.
  • That’s right! I am apprehensive about the trends within the European Union itself. And it is interesting which group will prevail, which group will prevail. And since round talk has already become an inertia and a feeling that this is how we save ourselves from calling things by their real names, I’m afraid that these so-called nationalist, populist regimes, I’m sorry, didn’t mean regimes, but so otherwise they will dictate the decisions of the European Union.
  • Plus I would say that it does not matter who will prevail. The division itself, the fact that it exists, is already a problem. Because they can’t impose a position, they just say “we think differently” and there is no common solution.
  • And not only that, what comes out, some scanty declarations, sorry for the expression again, but I do not want to speak in weak terms on this topic.
  • Which also raises a huge question. If the European Union is in such a state, then in what state is NATO, which is not just a military but a military-political union? So if the European Union can’t make decisions, how can NATO make them? If the European Union is chasing Turkey like hell, “you have no place with us” and Turkey is a key player in NATO, what kind of Atlantic Union are we talking about?

“Well, I’ll tell you a different point of view again.” I believe that, in fact, NATO is more successful than the European Union.

  • Because there is a clearer interest of the United States. “Both the United States and certain other European countries.” But I agree – having the United States on the table already has more power and more persuasiveness when decisions have to be made.
  • But Article Five has a defensive role, Article Five is the nuclear button for mobilizing collective security. The European Union does not have such a button. However, when we talk about NATO and the defensive button, and in this case promising offensive ones must be given, in the sense of perspective strategies, NATO will fall into the same role as the European Union, or into the same trap. Because vision, which is a problem of the impossibility of being developed by the European Union, will be the same problem in NATO. “It will be transferred there as well.” There is now a meeting at the beginning of next week of the ATA. And no doubt all this will be discussed, and I do not know whether it is possible, with the help of the existing Atlantic units in all the Member States, to stimulate and encourage the national governments to make this analysis first? I miss that.
  • This analysis must be done in depth. This is a four-dimensional analysis. The problem is taken – it is very important and what is the format of speaking – 27, or 28 – so many people are not able to make an analysis. The analysis is done by three people and this is the maximum, which is then spread as conclusions. But here I just want to have some time for a special case – Bulgaria. Bulgaria is a member of both the European Union and NATO. And you talked about this – the military wing of Hezbollah, which, thanks to the fact that Bulgaria accepted arguments convincing the European Union to include the military wing of Hezbollah in the list of terrorist organizations because of the attack in Sarafovo, and Hezbollah and Russian officers almost below hand walk in Syria, and Bulgarian President Rumen Radev in the midst of the biggest crisis between the European Union and Russia, respectively NATO – Russia, goes to Moscow. So what country and what policy do we pursue?
  • Well, you described it – this is a chaotic movement in different directions. But unfortunately it’s so short-lived, I’m even hesitant to say decision-making. But political positions are formulated so short-term from the point of view of survival, and they are so round and subordinated to this common multiple, to which the positions in the European Union are made, that we henceforth say every, or every institution, or every speaker of political level – foreign policy in terms of security believes that it has its own track to run on. And this is extremely worrying. I don’t know, now we said it well, “there is no danger for Bulgaria”.
  • What, then we are the center, for ourselves yes. There is no danger for Bulgaria from the nuclear explosion in Japan, say at the plant. Well, of course, there is no danger of immediate agreed strikes in Syria, of course not, but where is the Bulgarian position?
  • And not only. This is a problem that has a much further setback, so to speak, with much longer-term effects, because if peace and stabilization do not work in Syria, then all these millions of refugees will really go to Europe. “Tell you what, it won’t work!” “It won’t work!”
  • And the problem is really that the analytical approach is deeply wrong. For example, what do I think? And that’s how some people say it, “yes, you may be right.” The root of the crisis is Russian aggression and occupation of Crimea.
  • Yes!
  • This was the reason for the first sanctions, for the first sharp tension. To loosen the “pressure on Russia over Crimea” loop, Putin has waged a conflict in eastern Ukraine because Eastern Ukraine is not an unsolvable problem from Putin’s point of view, it was created to be solved in such a way as to preserve Crimea. After Eastern Ukraine, he went and engaged in Syria – an even further extension of Russia’s commitment. He has two approaches, of which… just as in 1939 Stalin took sides to expand his territory, so Putin exported crises…
  • Well, the loss of states must be compensated, right?
  • And instead of the world, if it wants to curb Russia, it should not be silent about Crimea, as everyone admits, “the West swallowed Crimea”, but to push them hard for Crimea, because the solution around Crimea solves other problems.
  • I completely agree and I will add something else. I am really deeply sorry that President Obama did not respect his own red line. I don’t even think there would have been all these next events and crises, including eastern Ukraine, including Crimea, if Obama had shown “no way” then. Because these actions of Syria and Assad, they are actually the result of the support it receives from the Kremlin, from Russia. Do you see that everything that has happened, say, the inclusion of Syria in the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the signing of that notorious agreement on the destruction of chemical weapons – all this is not happening because of Assad’s own political will. Assad no longer has his own political will – he has a goal, he has a desire, half of the country is in control, hard and miserable for the other half, because I think we have no end to hostilities, they will just have a pause and continue until the whole territory, but all this would not have been possible without the great, how to say, unceremonious support of the Kremlin. Even Iran supports in another way. This is a different kind of support from Iran. While Russia is clearly challenging the world and providing Assad with air, it provides him with air and living space.
  • And these are problems on which Russia acquires the function of being a key, leading player, and the West has fallen asleep. And it is too late, because in politics it is very important not only how and what, but also when you will do it.
  • Exactly! That is why I say that these are different decision-making processes, politically speaking, the West and Russia have different mentalities in terms of communication with the partner, the interlocutor, the thinking and the view of the problems is totally different.
  • And this difference, diversity and different interests in terms of upholding and long-term interests foretells one thing – we will sooner or later face a bitter truth – that in this form the European Union is a dysfunctional organization, and the North Atlantic Alliance as a function of the demotivation of the European Union will also dull its energy and ability to react. Thanks to Mrs. Poptodorova!

Source: EUROPE Television.

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