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EghtesadOnline: Iran is ready to engage with Persian Gulf neighbors, if they decide to choose cooperation over hostility, Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said, adding that warmongering policies of certain groups in the United States, Israel and regional countries are wreaking havoc on the region.

"Our arms are open to all Persian Gulf countries. Unfortunately, two or three countries in the Persian Gulf region have chosen a different path. We believe the path they have chosen is not effective and is dangerous. It is in fact more dangerous for them than anyone else," he told Al-Alam News Network in a recent interview, ISNA reported. 

Zarif said visits by Iranian diplomats to neighboring countries are aimed at discussing the ground realities and expressing Iran's views on US attempts to exacerbate tensions in the region as well as possible solutions. 

"Our region is suffering because of the warmongering policies of a limited group in the United States, the Zionist regime and, unfortunately, some regional countries," Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.

Iran has never had "ill intentions" against its neighbors and if no diplomatic visit has been made to some neighboring nations in the recent past, "it has been their choice, not ours", the chief diplomat added. 

 

 

Iran-Saudi Ties

Asked about a potential visit to Saudi Arabia under the current circumstances in the region, Zarif said, "If the Saudi government is ready to change its policy, I can be in Riyadh tomorrow." 

Tensions between the two regional powers have surged in recent years, with Saudi Arabia and Iran supporting opposite sides in the conflict in Syria and rival political parties in Iraq and Lebanon. They have also adopted different approaches to the conflict in Yemen.

Riyadh severed diplomatic relations after Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran following the execution of eminent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in the Arab country in January 2016 without due process. 

Saudi Arabia's King Salman told an emergency Arab summit on Friday that decisive action was needed to stop Iranian "escalations" following attacks on Persian Gulf oil assets, Reuters reported. 

Tehran denies any involvement in the incidents.  

The kingdom's ruler also contended that Iran's development of nuclear and missile capabilities and its perceived threats against world oil supplies posed a risk to regional and global security. Tehran says its nuclear program is peaceful and its missiles are solely for defense. 

The foreign minister said the Islamic Republic has refused to negotiate with the United States about the region, because it believes regional issues should be discussed and resolved by regional governments.  

On the future of Tehran-Washington relations, he said the prevailing atmosphere could change if the United States abandons its policy of "bullying and economic terrorism". 

A war of words has escalated between Washington and Tehran after US President Donald Trump a year ago withdrew from a 2015 international nuclear agreement with Iran, reimposed sanctions and boosted its military presence in the Persian Gulf. 

Zarif said Iran does not need a "mediator" for negotiating with the US, but the prerequisite for a dialogue is that Washington abide by the nuclear deal. 

 

Iran cooperation Persian Gulf states Mohammed Javad Zarif Interaction Persian Gulf neighbors hostility