Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Davit Dondua, said the U.S. has asked Tbilisi to “refrain from full-scale cooperation” with Iran until Tehran fully complies with the Vienna nuclear deal reached in July.
“We have permanent contacts with our American colleagues, who are asking us to refrain from full-scale cooperation with Iran and from becoming open [for Iran] for now – until all the commitments agreed in Vienna are fulfilled and until Iran is given final green light,” Dondua said on October 9.
“We are telling our American and other friends that we remain committed to the policy and sanctions pursued by [the West] in respect of Iran, but you should also take into consideration specifics of Georgia’s situation. Iran is a regional state, our important partner, including from the economic point of view, and we want some sort of space for maneuvering,” Dondua said.
Speaking at a meeting with lawmakers from the opposition Free Democrats party in the Parliament, the Deputy Foreign Minister also said that there was one case when Georgia had to decline a request from an Iranian air carrier to launch operations in Georgia after the U.S. advised Tbilisi against it.
Dondua, however, also said that there was a separate case when Tbilisi, “based on our pragmatic interests”, allowed another Iranian airline to launch operations in Georgia although the U.S. was not encouraging such decision.
“We’ve done it without damaging our relations either with the U.S. or European partners,” the Deputy Foreign Minister said.
He did not specify, but the only Iranian air carrier, which currently operates flights between the two countries, is ATA Airlines.
“Hopefully Iran’s isolation will soon be over,” he said, adding that although it will have positive effect, it may have “certain not so positive” side as well and Georgia “should be ready for this.”
Reuters reported on October 9 that the U.S. has “privately reminded foreign governments and U.S. bankers that sanctions against Iran remain in effect, cautioning against a rush by Western companies to invest in Iran’s oil industry and other businesses until the country fully complies with the July nuclear agreement” reached between Tehran and the P5+1 – the U.S., China, Russia, France, United Kingdom and Germany.
In a statement in July the Georgian Foreign Ministry welcomed Iran nuclear deal as “an important step towards international peace and stability.”