Zarif urges dialogue with regional Arab states to maintain security

January 29, 2021 - 19:45

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called on Iran’s Arab neighbors to seize on the opportunity to advance cooperation among the region’s countries.

“Our dear neighbors, the opportunity is available to us to re-reflect on the issue of regional security. As we know, such security cannot be bought with money and cannot be achieved by accumulating weapons. The only way to establish security and stability is through broad regional cooperation among the countries of the region, and Iran has always emphasized its readiness to activate such cooperation,” the Iranian foreign minister said in a tweet in Arabic on Thursday.

This is the sixth time Zarif is tweeting in Arabic to advance the dialogue between Iran and its Arab neighbors. The chief diplomat has intensified his messaging efforts toward Persian Gulf’s Arab states since Joe Biden won the U.S. presidential election in November. Zarif sought to reassure the countries of the region that Iran is not going to negotiate with the West over the region.

“Dear neighbors Why ask US/E3 for inclusion in talks with Iran when: a) There won't be ANY talks about OUR region with them as they're the problem themselves b) We can speak directly about our region without outside meddling. Hormuz Peace Endeavor (#HOPE) is still on the table,” Zarif tweeted on December 8 after Saudi Arabia and its allies in the region called on the U.S. to include them in any future talks with Iran.

He also welcomed a recent proposal by Qatar on launching dialogue between Iran and the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg TV, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani once again expressed hope that a summit between leaders of the six-member Persian Gulf Cooperation Council and Iran would happen.

“We are hopeful that this [summit] would happen and we still believe that this should happen. And I think this is also a desire that being shared among the other GCC countries. I just mentioned to you that there is a difference between the countries on the way how to approach such a dialogue. Also from the Iranian side. They have expressed their willingness several times to engage with the GCC countries,” the Qatari foreign minister said.

He said the time should come when the Persian Gulf’s Arab states will sit at the table with Iran and reach a common understanding. “We have to live with each other. We cannot change geography. Iran cannot move the GCC away from its neighborhood and the GCC cannot move Iran from the neighborhood,” bin Abdulrahman continued.

Zarif positively responded to the Qatari proposal.

“Iran welcomes my brother FM @MBA_AlThani_'s call for inclusive dialogue in our region. As we have consistently emphasized, the solution to our challenges lies in collaboration to jointly form a 'strong region': peaceful, stable, prosperous & free from global or regional hegemony,” he tweeted on January 19.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has also voiced readiness to welcome any change in Saudi Arabia’s approach toward the region in the time since.

SM/PA

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