Zarif seeks cooperation with Czech Republic to end refugee crisis

September 7, 2015

TEHRAN - Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad says Iran and the Czech Republic should strengthen cooperation in fighting extremism, while trying to find solutions for the humanitarian plight of refugees.


Speaking at a joint press conference with visiting Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek in Tehran, Zarif criticized inhuman treatment of refugees who are fleeing their homelands to different parts of the world to get rid of extremism and terrorism.

Zarif said Iran has hosted millions of refugees over the past three decades coming from neighboring countries, an indirect reference to refugees from Afghanistan and Iraq.

“All countries should join the fight against terrorist groups and avoid taking measures which will finally benefit extremist groups,” the Iranian foreign minister noted.

Zarif said campaign against terrorism should not be confined only to “military confrontation”, suggesting that promoting culture of coexistence and providing economic opportunities are also important in containing the spread of extremism.

He said Iran has proved that it is a country which constantly fights violence, extremism and terrorism.

“Unfortunately, the United States’ policy in the region has fueled violence and extremism, and the U.S. allies in the region are currently supporting violence and extremism directly and indirectly,” Zarif lamented.

He noted that U.S. officials and other international actors should avoid making “irrelevant” remarks and stoking more chaos in the region.

He said Iran as a serious actor and a peace-seeking country in the region is ready to cooperate with regional states and the international community to fight violence and extremism.

-------- Terrorism is root cause of refugee crisis

The Czech official, for his part, stated that terrorism has been the main reason behind the influx of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa into Europe.

Terming terrorism as the most dangerous of all global phenomena, he said only a political solution can resolve the outstanding issues crippling the Middle East region.

--------- Iran-Czech Republic relations

Zarif also said Iran and the Czech Republic enjoy good relations and called on the two countries to work toward expanding cooperation.

The Iranian foreign minister also stated that grounds have been prepared for Tehran and Prague to expand economic cooperation, particularly after the lifting of sanctions against Iran, following the nuclear agreement between the Islamic Republic and six world powers on July 14.

The Czech foreign minister said the Vienna nuclear agreement would reinforce security in West Asia and help bolstering Iran’s ties with the international community.

The nuclear deal would also prepare the ground for Iran and the Czech Republic to improve relations, he added, hoping that the European Union would lift sanctions, particularly financial bans, against Iran in 2016.

The Czech foreign minister also called for close economic, political, cultural and educational cooperation with Iran.

Zaoralek said Iran plays a key role in the fight against drug trafficking, expressing his country’s willingness to cooperate with the Islamic Republic in this regard.

MD/P