By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Echoing the tone of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s speech one day earlier in Tehran, Iranian Ambassador to Mexico Mohammad Taghi Hosseini took advantage of his national day reception on Tuesday, Feb. 12, to bask the United States and underscore his government’s unflinching commitment to the values of the now-40-year-old Islamic Revolution.
“The 1979 Islamic Revolution marked a major turning point in our glorious history,” Hosseini told his guests at the Mexico City’s Club Naval Norte, before inviting them to a sumptuous luncheon of traditional Persian cuisine.
“Iran has paid a high price to ensure its true independence and to establish democracy. Over the last 40 years, we have faced many challenges and traveled a very long path.”
In an obvious reference to the United States, Hosseini went on to say that “there have always been belligerent elements which have used everything in their power to try to weaken us in order to ultimately threaten our sovereignty.”
“Thanks to God, and the perseverance and sacrifices of the Iranian people at different stages, all these shameless hostilities failed (to destroy our country),” he said.
“Today, with the accumulated experience of four decades, our republic is stronger than ever and continues on a stable and rapid path toward development and prosperity.”
Last year, U.S. President Donald J. Trump withdrew from an international nuclear agreement reached with Tehran in 2015 under his predecessor Barack Obama.
In accordance with that agreement, Iran had agreed to freeze its nuclear program for 15 years in exchange for relief from oil and financial sanctions.
The other members of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), include China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, Germany and the European Union, all of whom have maintained that there is no evidence that Iran has violated the accord.
But under U.S. pressure, many European and other companies have abandoned operations in Iran, leading to high unemployment and limited access to international credit.
In the last 24 months, oil sanctions have reduced Iran’s crude exports (its main source of income) by more than half, .
Notwithstanding, Hosseini said that Iran is today one of the most developed countries in the world in terms of science, technology, security, social and cultural development, health and education.
But squeezed by mounting U.S. sanctions and internal financial mismanagement, Iran is now facing severe economic challenges, including a 35-percent inflation rate and a 70 percent depreciation of its currency in the last 12 months.
There have also been reported shortages of meat and other basic staples in recent weeks.
Despite his obvious and open disdain for Washington and the Trump administration, Hosseini said that his country values the “importance of dialogue and multilateral diplomacy” in its foreign policies.
He said that his government’s compliance with the nuclear accord is “an example of Iran’s commitment to dialogue and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.”
Hosseini pointed out that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has presented 12 consecutive reports confirming that Tehran has kept its end of the bargain.
“The United States, for whatever motive, and due primarily to its internal politics, withdrew from the JCPOA, and that withdrawal is a flagrant violation of international law and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 (which endorsed the accord),” the ambassador said.
“With those violations, the United States has created a serious threat to international peace and stability.”
The envoy also made a brief reference to Iran’s bilateral relations with Mexico, which includes a combined two-way trade of about $91 million a year.
After nearly a year of public demonstrations and protests led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against the 28-year monarchy of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the people of Iran established an Islamic republic on Feb. 11, 1979.
Under the new administration, conservative clerical forces established a theocratic system of government with ultimate political authority nominally vested in a learned religious scholar.