Zarif says Iran, Russia seeking regional peace

December 30, 2019 - 19:19

TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday that unlike the United States, Iran and Russia are seeking peace and stability in the Middle East region.

“Unlike others who fuel war in our region, Iran and Russia have proposed important initiatives for the regional peace,” Zarif said during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.

He cited the Hormuz peace initiative proposed by Iran and also Russia’s initiative of dialogue in the Persian Gulf as examples.

According to Press TV, Zarif and Lavrov denounced attempts by Western states, the U.S. in particular, at increasing tensions in the Middle East region.

Elsewhere, Zarif said Iran-Russia relations is at its best state in the course of history and described ties as “strategic” which will continue vigorously.

“Officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran are determined to view relations with Russia, as a big power and important neighbor, as strategic,” Zarif remarked.

Lavrov, for his part, said that Iran and Russia share common views on many issues.

Pointing to the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, Lavrov said that all must make efforts to preserve the deal.

‘Astana talks have helped ease tension in Syria’

In a joint press conference with Lavrov, Zarif said that the Astana talks have helped ease tension in Syria.

In line with their security cooperation, Iran, Turkey and Russia - three power brokers in Syria - launched the Astana peace talks on the Syrian crisis. The talks were launched in January 2017 with the aim of putting an end to the Syrian conflict.

Kazakhstan has hosted multiple rounds of talks on Syria since January 2017 most of which involved delegations from the Syrian government and opposition.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in August that Iran-Turkey-Russia talks have been “most effective” in tackling crisis in Syria.

‘Collective cooperation required to counter unilateralism’

Zarif also said that the U.S. has spread unilateralism and seeks to impose its demands on others and noted that collective cooperation is required to counter unilateralism.

The chief diplomat added that Iran has proven that it seeks international cooperation and is not avoiding negotiation.

“The Iranian people and government welcome interaction and fulfil their commitments. However, we do not accept unilateral implementation of an agreement,” Zarif said in an open reference to the 2015 nuclear deal which the U.S. ditched in May 2018 and imposed sanctions on Iran in line with his “maximum pressure” policy against Tehran.

Zarif also criticized the Europeans for failing to meet their commitments under the JCPOA.

Lavrov said that Washington’s action in quitting the nuclear deal violates international law.

“The JCPOA has been confirmed in 2231 resolution of the United Nations Security Council and must be implemented,” the veteran Russian chief diplomat noted.

He added, “We want our Western partners to accept realities about the JCPOA.”

Lavrov noted that Russia will continue talks on preserving the nuclear deal.

The Russian foreign minister said the JCPOA is in danger without the compliance of the U.S. and the European Union.

“Because of the destructive line that Washington keeps towing, this important achievement of international diplomacy… is in danger of falling apart,” he said, according to the

Lavrov added that “colleagues from the European Union” were not fully complying with the agreement either.


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