23/06/2024 10:32 AM

By Nabilah Saleh

KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 (Bernama) -- Iranian Ambassador to Malaysia, Valiollah Mohammadi Nasrabadi, has expressed confidence that the bilateral relations between Iran and Malaysia will continue to thrive, grounded in mutual respect and cooperation.

Iran is preparing to conduct its 14th presidential election next Friday (June 28) both within the country and abroad, including in Kuala Lumpur, following the unfortunate passing of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash on May 19. It is anticipated that Iran will continue with its existing foreign policy and bilateral relationships.

Valiollah emphasised the historical continuity of Iran’s foreign policy, highlighting the sustained and growing interactions between Iran and Malaysia, and the trips of high-ranking officials made, including during former President Hassan Rouhani's tenure (2013-2021).

He noted the exchanges of delegations and meetings between the late President Raisi and Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as examples of ongoing cooperation.

"The reality is we continue, and I am sure that the new administration and the new President who come to office might add some interests or ideas, but the principle, in general, remains," he said, noting that the election, originally scheduled for 2025, was brought forward to address the sudden vacancy.

Regarding the longstanding issue of Western sanctions on Iran, Valiollah remarked, "Iran has been under sanctions for 45 years and it’s not new. I want to emphasise that all these sanctions are unilateral and not by the United Nations (UN) and the UN Security Council.”

He argued that many of these sanctions do not necessarily reflect a broader international consensus.

The ambassador also highlighted the importance of national sovereignty in forming beneficial alliances and policies.

He praised Anwar’s balanced foreign relations, particularly his stance on maintaining bilateral ties with the United States (US) and China based on national interests.

"Each country decides according to its national interests. This is where individual countries stay independent and decide what’s the benefit for their country," he stated.

On the upcoming election in Iran, Valiollah described it as a democratic process, beginning with candidate registrations from May 30 to June 3, followed by a vetting period by the Guardian Council, which approved six contenders.

According to the Iranian constitution, an election must be held within 50 days of a vacancy to ensure a new president is elected swiftly, reinforcing the democratic process.

An estimated 61 million eligible voters are projected to take part, and the election results are anticipated to be revealed within 48 hours following the conclusion of the election.

In the interim, Mohammad Mokhber, the first vice president, has been appointed acting President following Raisi’s tragic demise.

The helicopter crash also claimed the lives of several other high-ranking officials, including Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, governor of East Azerbaijan province Malik Rahmeti, and Imam Ayatollah Ali Hashim of Tabriz province.





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