In a Monday article in The Atlantic website, Zarif underlined the need for “meaningful” restoration of peace and stability to the Persian Gulf region, noting, “To achieve this outcome, we should be erecting a working regional mechanism rather than laying more bricks in the wall of division. We can start with a regional dialogue forum, something Iran has always been—publicly and privately—in favor of.”
“Such a forum should naturally be based on respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of all states; the inviolability of international boundaries; non-interference in others’ internal affairs; the peaceful settlement of disputes; the impermissibility of threats or use of force; and the promotion of peace, stability, progress, and prosperity in the region,” he added.
Zarif argued that a forum based on these principles will enable all the parties to develop more formal security cooperation among themselves.
The article criticized regional countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, accusing Iran of interfering in Arab affairs and spreading insecurity in the region and noted, “Ironically, though, it is they who have waged war on their fellow Arab nation of Yemen, invaded Bahrain, embargoed their kin in Qatar, funded and armed terror groups in the war in Syria, and supported a military coup against an elected government in Egypt, all the while denying the most basic freedoms to their own restless populations.”
“Iran, meanwhile, being stronger and older as an independent state than any of its neighbors, has not attacked another country in nearly three centuries. Iran doesn’t and won’t interfere in the internal affairs of its neighbors,” it added.
Regional affairs concern all states
The Iranian top diplomat, however, argued that all the regional countries should take heed of the developments in the region, as their national interests are extensively intertwined.
“Still, Arab affairs are Iran’s business. And we are not shy in admitting that non-Arab affairs are their business. How can they not be? We share borders, waters, and resources; we fly through each other’s airspace. We cannot be interested in how our neighbors affect the part of the globe where we make our homes,” he pointed out.
Zarif stressed that Iran’s interests in the regional affairs are aimed at promoting “security, peace, and stability” for all the nations in the region and expressed regret that the Persian Gulf littoral states do not adopt a similar friendly approach.
“Unfortunately, this is not the desire of some of some of our neighbors, whose untried leaders cherish the delusion of regime change in Iran, and support terrorist groups that seek to overthrow our government or create fear for the sake of wounding the nation,” he wrote.
Iran nuclear deal chance for cooperation
The Iranian foreign minister pointed to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with the world powers and noted that the regional countries could have seized the opportunity to boost their trade with Iran and engage in negotiations over a regional security arrangement.
“But they did the opposite: They doubled down on their hostility toward Iran and Iranians, and have done everything they can—from lobbying campaigns, to extreme flattery of the U.S.
president, to refusing to even engage with us—to perpetuate the fallacy that Iran is the root of all problems in the region and must be confronted (or to use the popular Washington term, be ‘pushed back’ against), before it destabilizes the entire world,” Zarif pointed out.