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EghtesadOnline: Iran's top diplomats stressed on their regional tour of friendly neighboring countries that Tehran is seeking “balanced” and “constructive” relations with all Persian Gulf states based on mutual respect.

"Along this line, Iran has offered several proposals for cooperation, including the signing of a non-aggression pact with Persian Gulf countries," Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, who was in Baghdad last weekend, said in a news conference with his Iraqi counterpart, Mohammed Alhakim, ISNA reported.  

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi also said during his Sunday visit to Oman that Iran is open for negotiation with all Persian Gulf states to build respectful ties within the framework of shared interests. 

"Iran does not want an escalation in the region," he said in a meeting with Oman’s Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, according to Financial Tribune.

Tehran's expression of interest in balancing relations with all neighbors comes amid rising tensions in the region, fueled by the rising rhetoric between Iran and United States over the 2015 nuclear deal.

US President Donald Trump abandoned the nuclear agreement last year and reinstated sanctions. To intensify pressure on Tehran, it has sent aircraft carriers, bombers, missiles and an additional 1,500 troops to the Persian Gulf, sparking concerns over the risk of conflict in a volatile region.

The already strained relations between Iran and the US-allied Saudi Arabia have worsened following a tanker attack in the Persian Gulf, for which Washington has blamed Tehran. Iran has denied any involvement in the bombings. 

"Iran has no interest in any military tension and welcomes any initiative that would ameliorate the situation and help foster constructive relations with all neighboring countries," Zarif said in a meeting with Speaker of Iraq's Council of Representatives Mohamed al-Halbousi. 



Non-Aggression Pact 

The offer of signing a non-aggression pact is in line with Iran's efforts to prevent an armed conflict in the Middle East. 

In a non-aggression pact, two or more countries sign a treaty, promising not to engage in military action against each other.

Halbousi stressed the need to find peaceful solutions to build confidence among all sides of the present dispute. 

He vowed in a statement that Baghdad would play a key role in reducing frictions between Tehran and Washington without taking any sides. 

"Iraq reiterates its will to … avert the dangers of tension in the region," his statement read.

Zarif also met Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and President Barham Salih during his visit, where both sides underlined the necessity of preventing conflict in the region as well as the need for joint efforts to protect the region against the effects of US restrictions on trade with Iran. 

Araqchi, who is conducting a simultaneous tour of neighboring countries, censured the destructive policies of the US and its regional allies in Muscat, stressing that the Islamic Republic does not wish to heighten tensions in the region.  

"The end of [US] sanctions and the possibility for all regional countries to benefit from economic cooperation will guarantee peace and stability in the region," he said. 

The Omani diplomat also called for restraint on the part of all parties involved to prevent an inadvertent war.

Araqchi is due to visit Kuwait and Qatar on the next leg of his regional trip. 

On his Twitter account, however, Araqchi dismissed any prospects of direct or indirect talks with the US, while welcoming regional negotiations.


Iran Persian Gulf states Mohammed Javad Zarif Balanced Ties