Mon, 26 Aug 2019

Iran Seeks Amicable Ties with Saudi, UAE: Zarif

Iran Front Page
15 Feb 2019, 01:13 GMT+10

Irans Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic seeks to have friendly relations with all its neighbours, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

"Our relations with Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq and some Persian Gulf countries are unique, and we want similar relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates," Zarif said in a recent meeting.

"We have no problem having logical relations with the world, except with one entity (the Israeli regime)," the foreign minister noted.

Zarif said Iran condemned Iraq's attack on Kuwait before members of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council did so.

He said Iran also supported the Turkish government when a coup took place in the country "because we did not accept that military might should dominate the power of democracy."

"When Qatar came under the Saudi blockade, we immediately opened up our airspace to them despite all the concerns we had about some of Qatar's policies and our differences," the foreign minister said.

"Was Qatar Shiite? Was Turkey Shiite? Was Kuwait Shiite? Why did we support them? What is the axis of Shiism?" he asked.

He said call for interaction and constructive relations is a central plank of Iran's policy.

"We need good relations in the region. Moreover, we get our power from inside, but we need good regional ties despite this power. We want good relations with all, whether with the Persian Gulf countries, or northern neighbours or eastern neighbours," he said.

He noted Iran is pleased to be having good relations with many of its neighbours.

Zarif made the comment at a meeting held to discuss the Islamic Republic of Irans foreign policy over the past 40 years.

The meeting was attended by former Iranian foreign ministers who were in office after the 1979

Islamic Revolution as well as ambassadors and heads of foreign diplomatic missions in Tehran.

What follows is a full report of what he said during the meeting:

When it comes to national interests and national security, this nation braves the elements and puts on a show [of power] in front of the world, which is unprecedented, said the top Iranian diplomat.

He noted that people support the establishment despite all the shortcomings and pressure which exist due to both managerial problems and foreign sanctions.

Zarif said he bows to the Iranian nation out of respect.

As the [late] Imam [Khomeini] said, we are all servants of these people. This nation has put up a stiff resistance over the past forty years despite all the pressure and wars, the foreign minister said.

The top diplomat underlined that people are the pillars of this government, and that is why it is not only a moral thing, but a national security requirement to observe the rights of these people.

We are dependent on nothing other than the people. We are nothing without the people, and everything with these people. This is the first rule of the Islamic Republic. We managed to regain and preserve our independence, development, security and tranquility with reliance on the people, Zarif said.

The foreign minister went on to say that the Islamic Republic of Iran has based its foreign policy on two principles in addition to wisdom and expediency.

One of these two principles is to be endogenous, and the other is to be outward-looking, he said.

Our being endogenous emanates from Iranian peoples historical experience, he added.

In the past, we saw foreigners seeking to gain domination over this country and its destiny, and they saw that our foreign policy was adopted at foreign embassies, and decisions about our future and destiny were made in other countries, he said.

Not that the previous government [before the revolution] was following them in all arenas. Neither was this the case, nor is it fair to say so. It tried to strike a balance in certain fields, but what actually happened was that it aligned itself with major powers whenever it was important for them, he said.

In certain cases, the previous government expressed some viewpoints on its own behalf, and this is a reality. But in the past, [our] policies were determined at embassies. So, the element of self-reliance and self-confidence were the most important elements that emerged during the course of the Islamic Revolution, and that was what the nation wanted, said Zarif.

The foreign minister noted that the Islamic Revolution of Iran did not come to fruition on the back of efforts by a foreign-backed movement, but it was the people led by Imam Khomeini who took to the streets and brought the revolution to victory.

The foreign minister then touched upon the Iraqi-imposed war on Iran in the 1980s.

It is unprecedented in the history of the United Nations Security Council that [the world body] wait for a week amid an act of aggression and then adopt a resolution which does not even ask the warring sides to return to internationally recognized borders, he said.

Saddam [Hussein] attacked both Iran and Kuwait. When you compare resolutions 479 and 660, there is an unprecedented difference, he said.

He said the US, France, Britain, the Soviet Union and Germany gave arms support to Saddam Hussein during the Iraqi war against Iran.

What does Bolton think about when he says they will celebrate in Iran in 2019? This nation is the base of the revolution and our power, and as long as this nation supports us, we are endogenous, which means our security is ensured based on domestic power, he said, adding that Irans security emanates from inside.

We not only do not need foreign backing to ensure security, but also our development and progress come from inside the country despite foreign pressure, the foreign minister said.

If one day they close the doors of cooperation to us, our people will not be destroyed, though we are not interested to see that happen, Zarif said.

He said no country has been targeted by foreign conspiracies as frequently as Iran has.

They said they would drag conflicts into Iran. They blatantly announced this in their interviews. They held meetings with our dissidents, and attended the meetings of dissidents and groups that had been on the list of terrorist groups until two years ago. Their animosity towards this nation was so intense that they announced in a terrorist group meeting that we will celebrate your freedom in Iran. In other words, they not only not supported us, but hatched plots against this nation every day; however, they got nowhere, he said.

The minister said foreign powers have, over the past four decades, been of the conviction that they can put pressure on Iranian people by hatching plots, but this way of thinking harmed themselves more than anybody else.

He said the reason that superpowers armed Saddam Hussein to the teeth was that they wanted to suppress Iranian people.

What made them bring the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the ISIS to power? Was it anything other than an attempt to limit Iran? When do they want to stop this wrong policy and realize that this policy is a nonstarter? said Zarif.

How many times should they make predictions which turn out to be false? Brzezinski announced that the Islamic Republic [of Iran] would not survive more than a week after the Iraqi attack. However, Saddam Hussein has been dead for years, and we still stand tall and free. Brzezinski himself has died, too, he said.

He asked why Western countries do not want to accept that their predictions have been wrong and they need to stop making such predictions one day.

"All folks who are following up on Iran's foreign policy need to realize that everything we have is because of these people. We look to domestic security, development and progress, and the more they exert pressure on us, the more we rely on the people and the stiffer the people's resistance will become," said the foreign minister.

Addressing the ambassadors and heads of foreign diplomatic missions at the meeting, Zarif said, "You saw [the massive turnout of Iranian people in the rallies] yesterday. Report to your capitals that these people are standing behind the revolution. [In your reports] Write that these people cannot be separated from the government through pressure. Rather, pressure is counterproductive, and the reason is that we run this country based on being endogenous, and this is the main building block of our might," Zarif added.

"Believe this. We as agents, and you as our friends, and your governments as our friends, [should] believe that you might be able to influence some Western countries which are your friends, but pressure will backfire with regards to Iran," he said.

The foreign minister noted that Iran will not respond to pressure, but will respond to respect and to interaction based on an equal footing.

He said "being endogenous" is what the Islamic Revolution has brought us, adding, "Our dialogue is endogenous and we have new things to say."

Zarif further noted that Iran's global rule has been longer than the whole lifetime of certain countries, "but we seek engagement and relations based on mutual respect."

He said a letter proposing the establishment of a collective security system in the Persian Gulf was submitted by Iran to the UN secretary general in 1985.

"Also today, we are saying that we would like to establish a regional dialogue forum in the Persian Gulf. We are pursuing the same idea, which is also mentioned in [UN] Resolution 598," the foreign minister said.

"The reason why we do not accept anyone as a domineering power in the region is that we are not seeking domination ourselves, nor do we accept others to become domineering powers," he noted.

Zarif said Iran condemned Iraq's attack on Kuwait before members of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council did so.

He said Iran also supported the Turkish government when a coup took place in the country "because we did not accept that military might should dominate the power of democracy."

"When Qatar came under the Saudi blockade, we immediately opened up our airspace to them despite all the concerns we had about some of Qatar's policies and our differences," the foreign minister said.

"Was Qatar Shiite? Was Turkey Shiite? Was Kuwait Shiite? Why did we support them? What is the axis of Shiism?" he asked.

He said call for interaction and constructive relations is a central plank of Iran's policy.

"We need good relations in the region. Moreover, we get our power from inside, but we need good regional ties despite this power. We want good relations with all, whether with the Persian Gulf countries, or northern neighbours or eastern neighbours," he said.

He noted Iran is pleased to be having good relations with many of its neighbours.

"Our relations with Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq and some Persian Gulf countries are unique, and we want similar relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates," he said.

"We have no problem having logical relations with the world, except with one entity (the Israeli regime)," the foreign minister noted.

He said Iran seeks logical relations. "We will never accept to see someone question our power base, i.e. our people and reliance on people.

Zarif said the world should know after forty years of pressure and sanctions since the Islamic Revolution that Iran's power is endogenous.

"They held the previous conference in Sharm el-Sheikh a photo of which I have posted on my Twitter page. Which one of those in that picture are here today? But we are here because our power is based on our people and our legitimacy is due to what these people want," he said.

"People may have complaints against us, but they are domestic complaints. We, as the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, have a duty to reinforce and protect these people, who are the greatest source of our power, provide the best for them, and stop any pressure on them, and try to pave the way for the progress of the people by maintaining good relations," said the top diplomat.

He said it is the responsibility of the government to provide better living conditions for the people.

"We don't want to expel our neighbours from the region as it would be impossible to eliminate regional countries from the region," Zarif noted.

He said the US keeps asking what Iran is doing in the region.

"The question is, what are YOU doing in this region? This is our region. Where are we supposed to go? We cannot be removed from this region.

He said one of the reasons behind Iran's influence in the region is the West's mistakes.

"If the Westerners hadn't made mistakes and if they didn't want to topple the democratic systems in the countries of this region, we wouldn't have the influence that we have today. So, if you made a mistake and we made the right choice, why are you blaming us?" said Zarif.

He said the US should rectify its approach rather than spend $7 trillion.

"Once Mr Kerry told me Iran is spending money is Syria. I told him ‘you are talking with me about money while your allies are spending hundreds of times as much as we do; the problems is that you have chosen the wrong side," said Zarif, stressing that the Americans have selected the wrong allies.

"If you believed that people are the power base, then you would choose people as your allies. Then Saddam's pressure would go, and Iraqi people would remain. Then pressure on Lebanon would go, and the Lebanese people would stay," he said.

Zarif also touched upon his trips to Iraq and Lebanon in recent weeks, and added, "It is unlikely that a foreign minister can claim he travels to these countries and is received so warmly by people. We take pride in their (people's) resistance.

He said Iran takes pride in the resistance of the people of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon as well as that of Palestinians.

"We are proud to be under pressure for the sake of Palestine," he said.

Zarif said those who chose to be allies of the Israeli regime have no place in the region.

"Those who are trying today to secure their rule through establishing a hollow alliance with Netanyahu, they are having a pipe dream," he noted.

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