Speaking with ICANA, Mohammad Reza Bahonar said in answer to a question whether the establishment of a parliamentary friendship group to support the strengthening bonds between Iran and the US is considered a red line by the Islamic Republic that it is not only no red line, but that he deems it better if the parliamentary diplomacy precedes the governmental one.
"One of the week points about previous administrations was that they would not tap into public diplomacy. There are limitations to official diplomacy which public diplomacy lacks. Public diplomacy can start from a football match or parliamentary talk or lobbyism, and that is something I believe in,” Bahonar stated.
Asked if he thinks the present, largely Principalist Majlis will work its way into the friendship group, Bahonar said "I believe that the Geneva talks which are going to be held next week will clarify the course to some extent. Maybe in the next 5 or 6 months things will grow clearer. We would like 4 or 5 months to pass since the official diplomacy so that we can discern some signs from the US government; maybe the signs satisfy us that they want the game to be a win-win situation. If there is enough such signs, we will take further steps, but if Washington will be looking for a win-lose game in its own favor, the old trend will repeat itself and we will follow the same win-lose situation in our own interest.”
He also provided a perspective of Tehran-Washington relations while Rouhani and Obama hold office, saying "The Obama administration has little time. We don’t have much time either. We have taken the preliminary steps and are waiting for a response from the US.”
Pointing to the Supreme Leader’s role in expanding Iran-US relations, the Deputy Speaker said "If we try to have a religious look at the issue, someone would have gone wrong to fall ahead of or behind the Leader. And if we try to examine it in legal terms, based on the Constitution the final decision is relegated to the Supreme National Security Council, whose decisions are applicable only with the permission and endorsement of the Supreme Leader. Once we put religion and the law side by side, nobody from either within or outside the country will have doubt that the Iranian Leader is a highly insightful and meticulous person who says things at the right moment.”