By Mehdi Sepahvand

Iran-proposed security architecture taken seriously: Zarif

February 21, 2018

MUNICH – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said his proposal for a new security architecture in the Persian Gulf region has been taken seriously “by serious people”.

Zarif made the remark on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Sunday in answer to the Tehran Times’ question on how central Iran is regarded by world leaders in addressing regional security.

“I believe what was proposed by Iran on a new security architecture for the Persian Gulf area has been taken very seriously by everybody. I just refer you to the statement by the secretary general of the United Nations,” Zarif pointed out.

“We made the initial proposal last year here. But then I wrote an opinion peace in The Financial Times a few weeks ago. And now you hear the secretary general of the United Nations stating before this conference that that is the way out.”

The Iranian foreign minister said he “would not take the comments by some who are trying to blame others for their problems seriously, but… will focus on statements by serious people.”

Elaborating on his proposed security architecture when he addressed the Valdai Discussion Club in Moscow on Monday, Zarif called for abandoning “the illusion that security can be bought from outside or achieved at the expense of insecurity of others.”

He said countries need to move away from “the defunct concept of coalitions and alliances which rest on the premise of attaining security through exclusion of and insecurity for others.”

Inviting regional states to consider power and size disparities as well as divergence of interests, Zarif said they need to consider new innovative concepts that are “inclusive and non-zero-sum.”

He added, “Regional security networking is one way forward.  It allows for small and large nations to contribute to a regional security architecture which promotes security for all.”

The chief diplomat proposed that in order to enter this architecture, Persian Gulf states simply need to adhere to common norms and principles, such as sovereign equality of states; refraining from the threat or use of force; peaceful resolution of conflicts; respect for the territorial integrity; inviolability of borders; non-intervention in the domestic affairs of states; and respect for self-determination within states.

The Iranian foreign minister stressed that the countries need to take confidence-building measures, citing such examples as joint military visits, pre-notification of military exercises; and from transparency measures in armament procurements to reducing military expenditures.

All of these measures could eventually lead to a regional non-aggression pact, Zarif noted.

Zarif further said the countries can begin with easier to implement issues such as the promotion of tourism, joint investments, or even joint task forces on issues ranging from nuclear safety to pollution to disaster management.

SP/PA

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