EghtesadOnline: Iran has proposed setting up meetings with Middle East countries at various levels to reach a consensus over the parameters of its peace initiative for the region, dubbed the “Coalition of Hope”, before launching it collectively, a top Iranian diplomat said.
In an op-ed for the Financial Times, Mohammad Javad Zarif called on experts, think-tanks, the private sector, senior officials, ministers and heads of state to attend the meetings to deliberate on common objectives.
"These meetings can help articulate a collective approach to opportunities and challenges such as energy security and freedom of navigation for all," he said.
The Hope peace plan, which stands for Hormuz Peace Endeavor, was presented by President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations General Assembly last month and invites all Persian Gulf states as well as the United Nations to work together to guarantee regional security, Financial Tribune reported.
The proposal was offered at a time of heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf region, especially after several attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz in May and June.
The United States blamed those incidents on Iran with no evidence and boosted its military presence in the region. It also called on its allies and partners to form a security mission in the strategic waters, to which Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, along with Britain and Australia responded positively.
Tensions escalated further after an attack on Saudi oil facilities in mid-September, for which both Washington and Riyadh held Iran responsible, although Yemeni fighters had claimed it.
Threat of Untold Tragedy
Zarif said the current situation is "threatening to spiral out of control and result in untold tragedy" and Iran's proposal aims to provide a solution to "what appears—but in fact is not—an intractable problem".
The plan, according to the Iranian foreign minister, requires universal observance of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter to be successful.
He said collective action to implement the peace plan could begin with the signing of a Hormuz Community Non-Intervention and Non-Aggression Pact.
In such a treaty, two or more countries will promise not to engage in military action against each other.
Zarif has repeatedly discussed the idea of a non-aggression pact with neighboring countries during his regional tours.
The foreign minister also proposed the formation of joint taskforces to come up with practical steps toward the common objectives and gradually build confidence and expand cooperation.
"These taskforces can develop mechanisms and procedures for cooperation on common security and regional conflict prevention and resolution," he said.
The Iranian minister suggested that separate taskforces could be formed to pursue different goals such as combating drug trafficking, terrorism and human trafficking, promoting joint investments and ventures in oil, gas, energy, transit and transport, and fostering cooperation on humanitarian issues, including the treatment of migrants, refugees and displaced persons.
According to Zarif, academicians and prominent thinkers can also work together to expand cultural and scientific cooperation, exchange scholars and students, and make joint efforts to address vital issues such as cyber security, nuclear safety and environment protection, particularly in international waterways.
"I invite my colleagues in the leaderships of other regional states, and in the academic and diplomatic communities, to join us in forging a blueprint for peace, security, stability and prosperity," he said.