Iranian journalist Ghanbar Naderi, a columnist for Kayhan International, said in an October 20, 2020 interview on CGTN Network (China) that Iran should change its policy towards Israel and its neighbors, that it should stop threatening to destroy Israel, and that it should recognize the sovereignty of Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other countries in the region. Naderi, who was speaking from Tehran, added that the COVID-19 pandemic, which he described as a missed opportunity for cooperation between the United States and Iran, has changed the stance of even hardliners in Iran, to the point that Iran will engage with the United States if it rejoins the JCPOA, if it lifts the economic sanctions against Iran, and if it stops threatening Iran militarily.
Ghanbar Naderi: "Erged was right to say that Iran has some problem with its attitude and the way it is treating the region. Iran needs to change policy with regard to the region and its neighbors, especially with regard to Israel. They have to stop saying that we are going to destroy Israel or wipe it off the map. That's not the right thing to do. I think Iran needs to come to its senses and realize that it is not the only country in the region, and it should respect and accept the sovereignty of other countries, including Israel or Saudi Arabia. I don't dispute that.
"But on the other hand, I think that the COVID-19 was a great chance for Iran and the United States to put aside their differences, at least for some time, maybe temporarily for a year, in order to help each other to allow medicine to be imported to Iran, to allow Iran to do business and send money abroad to purchase medicine to treat its patients, to contain the virus and to re-engage its economy. America didn't do that, and that has weaponized the policies of hardliners here.
"Trump promised to bring Iran back to the negotiating tables, and it failed. But as I just mentioned, Erged and your distinguished guest made it absolutely clear, Iran also needs to change its behavior to respect the sovereignty of other countries in the region and build some kind of mutual trust. That is the only way that we can defeat the virus and normalize our relations with the outside world.
"Definitely Iran will talk to the United States if the next government – be it Trump or Biden – returns to the nuclear deal, lifts its illegal sanctions that have been imposed on Iran unilaterally, and it stops threatening Iran militarily in the region. That's all the hardliners and the so-called reformists want. COVID-19 has changed the attitude of the Iranian government officials and ordinary Iranian citizens. They all want normalization of ties with the United States and Iran's neighbors, no doubt about it. But for that to happen, I think somebody has to blink first. I'm afraid as [the other guest] just said, it is not going to be Iran. Iran is not going to blink first."