Iran says favors amicable ties with neighbors, warns of Yemen war repercussions

May 28, 2015 - 0:0

TEHRAN – The Iranian foreign minister on Wednesday reaffirmed Tehran’s policy of forging close ties with all neighbors including Saudi Arabia.

However Mohammad Javad Zarif urged Saudi Arabia to end its military campaign in Yemen, saying the war would “bring harm” to the kingdom, IRNA reported on Wednesday.

Zarif made the remarks in Kuwait, where he was attending an OIC foreign ministerial meeting entitled Joint Vision to Strengthen Tolerance and Reject Terrorism.

Iran has been a vocal critic of the Saudi-led air offensive on Yemen which started on March 26 without a United Nations mandate.

The top Iranian diplomat said the invasion has been of no use to Saudi Arabia and only created hatred among the Yemeni people.

“We say to our Saudi brothers that we want a brighter future for all countries in the region, and what they are doing in Yemen will end up harming them,” Zarif was quoted as saying by Reuters.

“Airstrikes against the Yemeni people won’t help settle problems and conflicts,” Zarif told reporters on the sidelines of the OIC meeting.

Zarif also stated that Tehran does not have any problems with exchanging visits with officials of other countries, especially with representatives of Persian Gulf Arab states.

“I have announced earlier my preparedness to visit Saudi Arabia in an effort to find solution to regional issues,” Zarif said, adding that Tehran hopes that the flames of war would be extinguished throughout the region.

In an open letter published in Kuwaiti newspapers, Zarif called for dialogue between Tehran and its Arab neighbors to resolve the region’s crises.

Zarif assured Arab states that Iran had no designs to revive its ancient empire, which spanned a large area of the Middle East, and said an agreement with world powers over a nuclear deal with Tehran would help bring peace to the region.

“Solving this artificial [nuclear] crisis and distancing the region from a military confrontation is in favor of peace ... and in the interest of all Muslim states,” he said in the letter.

Zarif also said Saudi Arabia should work with Tehran rather than with the United States to settle the region’s wars.

“Why do you go to Camp David when we are right next to you and want to pursue good relations, and when America does not wish you well and pursues its own interests?” he said.

He also said Tehran wanted good relations with Saudi Arabia but that war would not solve the crisis in Yemen.

He called on foreign countries to help settle the ongoing crisis in war-wracked Yemen rather than hamper the process.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif said all regional countries must forge collective cooperation to tackle the increasing challenges in the region.

He described sectarian division, terrorist groups such as ISIL and war as common threats against all countries in the region.

The minister said Iran is keen to establish close relations the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council states, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the minister pointed out.

Zarif also reaffirmed Iran’s support for the Iraqi nation and government, particularly in their fight against ISIL.

--------- Zarif meets OIC counterparts

Zarif also held bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of a number of OIC members in Kuwait’s capital city.

He met Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi, Tunisian Foreign Minister Taieb Baccouche, Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, and Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari, Tasnim reported.

The top diplomat, who arrived in Kuwait late on Tuesday also held a meeting with OIC Secretary General Iyad bin Amin Madani.

--------- Iran, Turkey call for immediate relief for Yemen

Earlier on Tuesday, Iranian and Turkish foreign ministers called for immediate international action to provide relief aid for the people of Yemen who have been affected by more than two months of military strikes by the Saudi-led coalition.

Zarif and Mevlut Cavusoglu also called for consultations among Muslim countries’ officials on the issue.

Both officials also highlighted the need for the United Nations to play its role to facilitate the inflow of humanitarian supplies into Yemen.