Ayatollah Hashemi in an interview with International Studies Journal provided comments on the diplomacy of moderation and asserted "Through pragmatism, there will be no impasse in foreign policy. What helps me in these cases is the notion of moderation.”
"I would nearly always fare moderately in negotiations and in my speeches. I was the same in campaigns. The moderation morale helped make pragmatism easy for me as I took on the country’s executive responsibility. That is to say my basic nature was pragmatism,” he added.
Head of the Expediency Council said "My mentalities never encourage me toward extremism. Islam as I know, and there are a lot who think like me, is not the dogmatic Islam. Islam does not order us to halt relations or stop talking to those who do not agree to our beliefs. We must hold to commonalities. As long as we can stay with them and introduce our beliefs to the world by our actions, the way Islam wants, why not do that?”
Ayatollah Hashemi added "In the final years of Imam Khomeini’s life, I wrote a letter to him. I did not type it, because I did not wish anybody to read it. I gave it to him myself. In that letter I introduced seven topics, which I wrote ‘you would better solve while you are still alive, else they might grow into problems and stall the country in the future. There are passes where if you do not take us through, it would be difficult after you to pass…’”
"One of these issues was relations with the US. I said that after all the ways we had then, neither talking to the US nor having relations, were not to last. The US is the world’s superpower. What difference does Europe, China, or Russia have with the US from our viewpoint? If we have negotiations with them, why not have negotiations with the US? And negotiation does not mean to give up to them. We talk. If they accept our positions, or we theirs, then it will be over,” he further said.
Hashemi pointed out "At that time I was trying to revive the Shiite cultural heritage in Saudi Arabia. All our imams have been there and there are valuable tokens there. I wanted to revive them, but some would think these actions and dispute resolutions would end in my name, so they opposed them.”
In another part of the interview Hashemi said "Relations with Saudi Arabia are no small issue for the region. First, it is a wealthy country and most of the scholars of Islamic lands are somehow related to Saudi Arabia for Hajj and pilgrimage, and they have interests there. More importantly there is the oil. Would the West have been able to boycott us if we had good relations with Arabia? Only Arabia can replace Iran. Saudi Arabia does not need to do anything. If it produces oil according to the OPEC share, nobody can offend us, because the global economy cannot be free of oil. I believe that good relations can still be established. But there are some people here whom you see would not let that … They say one rash word and it has quick reflections. Some statements from both sides cannot be put up with and must be improved.”
Providing comments on the relations of Iran with Egypt, he said "It is the same with Egypt. Some take Egypt’s relation with Israel and the Camp David Accord as an alibi to oppose such a relation, whereas the prime minister of Egypt told me that the accord was dead.”
Rafsanjani further pointed to the importance of friendly relations with the northern neighbors and said "Really, in the north of Iran in Caucasia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan; they were our best friends. Mr. Heydar Aliyev told me ‘seventeen of our cities belong to you, and you must save them, we are with you.’ In the south it was otherwise and after the war, the ice gradually thawed and our relations grew warmer. If we only warm up our relations with the regional countries, Iran’s real power in the region will be preserved, alas!”
"We oppose colonizers, but that does not mean that we wont talk to them. We can help oppressed countries while making no trouble. If we were to act on ideology, we would not have been cooperating with atheist countries which do not believe in God and spiritualities at all. But we are rather intimate with them now. I wanted to establish relations with Egypt, but we could not. I wanted to start negotiations with the US with the conditions I had laid, but I could not. Couldn’t is much different from didn’t want to,” he exclaimed.
"For example, what we wanted to do with Turkmenistan, which they did not let us. It was a pity. Turkmen Gas was to be exported to the world via Iran. Mr. Niyazov insisted and came here and insisted that we would launch the pipeline. He even personally took part in welding the pipes and his pictures were published then … we have such instances which did not get through, be we wanted them to do,” he regretted.