Zarif says Iran believes in a strong neighborhood

November 27, 2019 - 15:53

TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday that Iran believes in a strong neighborhood.

“We believe that through a strong neighborhood, we will be able to achieve our individual goals much easier and much better than individually,” he said during a speech at a ceremony marking Day of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in Tehran.

He added, “We do not seek to simply have strong member states, but [we seek] a strong collectivity of states in this region. And ECO provides a very opportune framework for all of us to achieve this objective.”

He noted that the ECO is a “grouping of states in a very particular region which requires cooperation in order to augment the security of all of the countries in this volatile region.”

He described the region as “very resourceful” in terms of population, human resources, geography, and natural resources.

“And ECO vision 2025 provided us with opportunities to address our potentials, to incorporate the possibilities of each and every member states of the ECO in order to promote the common goal of all us for the entire people of this region,” he said.

Zarif added, “So, I believe on this day, we need to recommit ourselves to cooperation both within the membership of ECO as well as between ECO and other regional organizations and between ourselves individually. Here I want to point out that Iran is interested in maintaining the same type of relations that it has with its ECO partners and extending it to our partners in the Persian Gulf region.”

‘Foundation of our policy is based on good neighborliness’

Zarif also said foundation of Iran’s policy is based on good neighborliness and respect for the international law and mutual benefit.

“All of us will benefit from cooperation and all of us will suffer from competition, from conflict from instability and from insecurity,” he said.

Referring to the Hormuz peace initiative, he continued, “You cannot prosper if your neighbors are not. You cannot be secure if your neighbors are not. That is why we extended the hand of friendship that we have extended to our ECO partners to our partners in the Persian Gulf, hoping that the same type of arrangement that would lead to greater confidence in cooperation could also evolve through cooperation, through joint effort, and through joint thinking also in the Persian Gulf region.”

He also said, “Our proposal for a regional collective arrangement in the Persian Gulf region has been long-standing. First, offered at the height of Iran-Iraq war in 1985 and more recently offered through the HOPE initiative or peace endeavor by President [Hassan] Rouhani in the [UN] General Assembly.”

At the United Nations summit in New York in late September, Iran officially unveiled a proposal for regional security, officially called the Hormuz Peace Endeavour (HOPE).

“Based upon the historical responsibility of my country in maintaining security, peace, stability and progress in the Persian Gulf region and Strait of Hormuz, I would like to invite all the countries directly affected by the developments in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz to the ‘Coalition for Hope’, meaning Hormuz Peace Endeavor,” President Hassan Rouhani told the UN delegates.

Foreign Minister Zarif has invited all regional states to join Iran’s initiative for securing the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

In a tweet in September, Zarif said the initiative entails “dialogue, confidence-building, freedom of navigation, energy security, non-aggression, and non-intervention”.

In a post on his Twitter account on October 15, Zarif renewed Iran’s call to all countries bordering the Persian Gulf to join Tehran’s initiative to “forge a blueprint for peace, security, stability, and prosperity” in the region.

In his press briefing, the Foreign Ministry spokesman called on certain Persian Gulf Arab states to abandon reliance on foreign forces for their security, saying dependence on foreigners is just an “illusion” 

“We called on the countries to respond to Iran’s peace-seeking call and abandon illusions. We have stressed that the presence of foreign countries undermines security and stability. We hope this initiative of Iran would face with positive response,” Mousavi stated.