0219 GMT December 14, 2019
The English desk of Mehr News Agency sat down for an interview with Tadeusz Kościński, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Economic Development of Poland, and his counselor from the promotion and bilateral cooperation department, Krzysztof Dabrowski, in March at Polish Embassy in Tehran.
The following is the full transcript of the interview:
Iran’s nuclear deal with the 5+1 group of counties dubbed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) came into effect in January 2016, under which many international sanctions against Iran were removed and the Islamic Republic’s interactions with the world increased considerably.
To what degree would you say the nuclear deal and the subsequent lift of anti-Iranian sanctions have impacted the level of cooperation between Iran and Poland in the past year?
Tadeusz Kościński: I would like to go a lot earlier than the nuclear agreement, back to the Second World War during which Polish people who had left Siberia came to Iran. My mother and grandmother were among those.
So, Iranians basically rescued the Polish people who had been like the walking dead at that stage after two years in Siberia with no food and clothing, and brought them back to life. After the war, most of them went to the United Kingdom and that’s why I was born in London. Thus, my country always holds a very positive view towards Iran.
What’s more, there has never been any sort of conflict between the two sides and the record has been very positive. Obviously, we were bound by the global treaties and when the sanctions were imposed against Iran, it was very difficult to break the sanctions because the costs of doing so were horrific.
Perhaps I could say that we were working in accordance with the letter of the law, and not necessarily with its spirit, which means our hearts have always been with the Iranians.
Now, post-JCPOA agreement was not only positive for Iran, but we also saw a great opportunity for partnership. Similar situations have been previously experienced by Poland in 1989 when we came out of poor economic conditions in which the country had very small capital, suffering from high inflation, high unemployment rate, and lack of know-how. Iran has also been experiencing the same condition.
At that time, Poland went through a very successful restructuring of the country and I think we can offer a lot to work together with the Iranians in this regard, in the sense that they can learn from us what worked and what didn’t.
Also, our economies are very similar and there is no danger that the economy of one side is ten times larger than the other’s. If one side had a much larger economy, partnership would prove meaningless. Fortunately, we are very similar in size. We also share the same interests in many areas of key specialties such as shipbuilding, pharmaceuticals and mining, which allows us to work together without running the risk of one partner taking over the other.
Geographically speaking, we both come with mutual benefits. Poland is situated in the center of Europe, housing domestically 38 million people but with access to 500 million people in the European Union. I would say we are very similar to Iran in this regard, as you have 70 million people which is nearly twice as big as us, but more importantly, your geographical location provides us with access to the whole Middle East region.