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– It's not a comfortable thing to say

– It's not a comfortable thing to say

– This is not a comfortable statement, Krawiec tells VG.

– We send clear messages to Iran, as we also did with the Houthi movement in Yemen: The military escalation is contrary to international law, but it also conflicts with their own interests: What is happening now between Israel and Iran undermines the prospects for a solution between the Palestinians and the Israelis, he says.

Kravic confirms that the State Department is also maintaining contacts with the Houthi movement and with Hamas – and that the lines are also open with the Israeli government and with the Palestinian Authority.

The Foreign Minister says he spoke with the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister on Wednesday morning.

<-Ali Bagheri Kani

Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran.

– Now Israel and Iran are sending signals to each other with weapons. Because it is based on the assumption of what the other party will do. But often people have little understanding of the reactions that can come. Norway can come and explain.

The goal is primarily to try to calm the situation and prevent a new escalation, more destruction, and more fear The Middle Easthe adds.

Iranian soldiers march in Tehran today on the occasion of National Military Day in Iran. Photography: Wahid Salmi/AFP

Coordination with the United States

Andreas Motzfeldt Krawieck (45 years old) is a lawyer who worked for many years in the Legal Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Secretary of State to former Foreign Minister Annekin Huitfeldt (AFP) in the summer of 2023.

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He is now responsible in the political leadership for working for peace and reconciliation, and for continuing contacts with parties in the Middle East.

The government also played a mediating role between Iran and the United States.

Kravic says he is in regular contact with US diplomat Brett McGurk, who coordinates President Joe Biden's Middle East policy at the US National Security Council.

– Americans cannot have the same contact with Iran that we have. There's something we can do that they can't do, Krawiec says.

Anti-American banner at the military parade today. Photography: Wahid Salmi/AFP

New travel tip: Leave Iran

On Tuesday evening, the Foreign Office tightened travel advice for Norwegians regarding Iran:

The Foreign Office now advises against travel to Iran, and encourages those already in Iran to leave the country.

Has travel advice been tightened because there is reason to fear an Israeli attack on Iran?

We are concerned that there may be an Israeli reaction. We have made it very clear to Israel and Iran that they must exercise restraint and do everything in their power not to escalate the matter further. But this applies not only to Iran, but also to Hezbollah in Lebanon. This is the last thing we need right now.

Contact Defender: Andreas Motzfeldt at the Foreign Ministry has held several conversations with his Iranian colleague in recent days. Photo: Gisel Odstad/VG

Was Norway informed in advance of the Iranian attack on Israel?

– There was good evidence that there would be an Iranian attack after the Israeli attack on the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus, and that Israel should take all precautions. We did not receive any prior warning from Tehran about the Iranian attack. “Our communication is not a military operations channel,” says Krawiec.

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Large quantities of missiles were displayed at the military parade held today in Tehran. Photo: Abdeen Taher Kanara/EPA

Shouted from both sides

In recent months, the Storr government has received criticism from both sides of Norwegian politics for its line on the Middle East.

The left wants to impose sanctions on Israel and unconditional support for the Palestinians in Gaza, and demands that Norway adhere to the boycott line.

On the other hand, Frp leader Sylvie Listog criticized the Foreign Ministry and the government for overestimating Norway's role.

Listog described engagement with Iran as a “naive” foreign policy that could lend legitimacy to regimes that oppress their populations.

Builds trust

Andreas Motzfeldt-Kravik refuses to let the Norwegian authorities enter into a “comfortable conversation” with the authorities in Tehran:

– No conflict can be resolved without the parties talking together. Now it has become impossible when it comes to Israel and Palestine. Hence, we, who have been able to build trust with many parties in the Middle East over time, can transmit messages between the parties. Communication is based on trust, credibility, a long-term perspective, and the ability to maintain appreciation over time.

-Are you unsuitable for Iranian politics when you are in close contact with them now?

– Everyone can see that we disagree with most of Iran's foreign policy. They are also well aware of our position regarding human rights and women's rights. However, we have succeeded in building a relationship and a channel through which we can talk together, Krawiec says.

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Contact in the Middle East: In February, Andreas Mutzfeldt-Kravik was in Qatar and met his colleague Mohammed bin Al-Khelaifi. Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

– So imposing sanctions on Israel from the Norwegian side is out of the question because you want to keep the lines of communication open?

-We are skeptical of the boycott because we believe it prevents talks with other parties. You will lose acceptance and cannot talk to anyone you interrupted. In the Middle East, the situation is now one of distrust of each other. Through long-term work, we have been able to position ourselves so that many countries have great confidence in Norway.

– What do you think can come out of these communications?

– It would be naive to believe that one or two talks with Iran will solve the problem between Iran and Israel. No one here at the State Department thinks so. But through confidence-building measures we have been able to achieve some solutions, says Krawiec.

He highlights the temporary arrangement, which is that a large portion of the tax money Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority would be temporarily held by the Norwegian authorities, and that Israel would transfer the rest to the Palestinian Authority. While working on the scheme, Krawiec had close contacts with the finance ministers of Israel and Palestine, but they were unable to speak together.

– It is not in Norway's interest to remain with this money, which amounts to billions every month. But we will do this until the parties find a way to deal with this matter.

Soldiers carrying Iranian flags and green headbands at a military parade today. Photography: Atta Kinari/AFP