Iran Favors ‘Constructive’ Ties With Regional States
EghtesadOnline: Visits by Iran's chief diplomat to Persian Gulf states are in line with the country's policy of engaging constructively with regional countries, a senior official said, adding that foreign presence undermines peace and security in the Middle East.
Iran's foreign policy is based on "constructive interaction", "good neighborliness", "building trust" and "finding common grounds", Iran’s Ambassador to Kuwait Mohammad Irani told Kuwait's Al-Jarida newspaper in a recent interview, ISNA reported.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was scheduled to leave Tehran for Kuwait on Saturday for talks with his counterpart and other top officials on bilateral issues and latest developments in the region.
Zarif visited Doha earlier this month and met with Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of Qatar, which hosts one of the biggest US military bases in the Middle East, according to Financial Tribune.
The top diplomat said in Qatar that the United States is turning the Persian Gulf region into a "matchbox ready to ignite", according to Al Jazeera television.
Oil tanker traffic passing through the Persian Gulf via the Strait of Hormuz has become the focus of a US-Iran standoff since US President Donald Trump pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions to slash Tehran's oil exports.
After explosions damaged six tankers in May and June, and Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in July, the United States launched a maritime security mission in the Persian Gulf, joined by Britain, to protect merchant vessels.
Iran denies involvement in the tanker accidents and says the British-flagged vessel was detained for marine violations.
The ambassador expressed his disapproval of the presence of foreign forces in the region, saying, "Iran believes that Persian Gulf states can protect regional security without the help of outsiders."
Irani warned against US efforts to create discord among Muslim nations and said the Americans are only concerned about their own interests.
"US officials, particularly Donald Trump, are playing a dangerous game. They say they are creating a coalition to ensure maritime security in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. But their main objective is to promote instability and insecurity in the region," he said.
The Iranian ambassador also said any Israeli involvement in the mission would further destabilize and fuel tensions in the Middle East.
Israeli media recently quoted Foreign Minister Israel Katz as telling a closed-door meeting that Israel was part of discussions and intelligence-sharing with the US-led maritime security coalition, according to Reuters.
Israeli officials declined to confirm or deny the reports.
On Iran's proposal to sign a non-aggression pact with Persian Gulf Arab neighbors, Irani said Tehran has always favored cooperation with these countries.