Aggressive unilateralism of current US administration behind Mideast crises: Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has blamed the problems facing the Middle East region on the “aggressive unilateralism of the current US administration,” saying inclusive dialogue among regional countries is the only way out of the current crises.

“Our continent in general and West Asia and the Persian Gulf region in particular are undergoing crises caused primarily by the lack of inclusive regional dialogue coupled with short-sighted adventures and the aggressive unilateralism of the current US administration,” Zarif told the 16th ministerial meeting of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) in the Qatari capital Doha on Wednesday.

Underlining the need for cooperation among countries of the region, Zarif said he had earlier proposed the establishment of a ‘Regional Dialogue Forum’ in the Persian Gulf to address dialogue deficiency.

“Every player in our region should understand that we are neighbors forever, and that the only way to secure peace and prosperity is through the recognition of a common destiny and an acceptance that inclusive multilateral dialog is the only way out of the current multidimensional crises facing us all,” he noted.

The top Iranian diplomat also warned about the US policy of unilateralism across the world, saying it could pose threats to everyone and called for collective efforts to address the alarming issue.

“We also need to collectively address the alarming unilateralism of the current US administration. The imposition of the will of a single power over all other nations is an existential threat—sooner or later—for everyone,” he said.

“Unless we align our capabilities to secure multilateralism, arising and aggressive unilateralist wave can cover the entire world, quickly replacing the rule of law with the rule of the jungle,” he added.

He reaffirmed Iran’s commitment to promotion of interaction among regional nations, saying “Iran will always be a steadfast partner” in the “relentless pursuit of dialog and multilateralism.”

Iran wants ‘good’ ties with Saudi Arabia

On the sidelines of the Doha conference, Zarif told reports that Iran hopes to have good relations with Saudi Arabia and other regional Arab countries, and called for an end to their bitter dispute with the Persian Gulf neighbor Qatar.

“We have extremely good relations with Qatar, Kuwait, Oman. We hope to have the same type of relations with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates,” Zarif said.

Zarif hopes for resolution of Persian Gulf row

Zarif also hoped that countries within the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council could “resolve their differences peacefully.”

“We were against pressure on Qatar; we still believe that pressure on Qatar is against international law,” he said.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt all cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar in June 2017, after officially accusing it of “sponsoring terrorism,” which Doha has rejected.

Later that month, Saudi Arabia and its allies released a 13-point list of demands, including the closure of Al Jazeera television network and the downgrade of relations with Iran, in return for the normalization of diplomatic relations with Doha.

Qatar rejected those demands as an attack on the country’s sovereignty and interference in its domestic affairs and foreign policy agenda.

Iran criticizes US plan to designate Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist

Zarif also criticized a US plan to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

“The US is not in position to (..) start naming others as terror organizations and we reject by any attempt by the US in this regard,” he told reporters. “The US is supporting the biggest terrorist in the region, that is Israel.”

The White House said on Tuesday that President Donald Trump was working to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization. The move could lead to sanctions against Egypt’s oldest opposition movement.

Iran voices support for Maduro government

Asked about Venezuela, Zarif also voiced support for the Latin American country’s President Nicolas Maduro.“We believe the constitutional government of Venezuela needs to continue,” Zarif told reporters.

“We are happy that the people of Venezuela defeated the coup, but we continue to believe in the need for discussions as the government has suggested. We have always encouraged intra-Venezuelan dialogue,” he added.

Maduro said he had defeated an attempted coup on Tuesday night by a group of the military personnel supporting opposition figures Leopoldo Lopez and Juan Guaido.

Early on Tuesday, a group of Venezuelan armed troops accompanying Guaido, who has declared himself “interim president” of the country, clashed with soldiers at an anti-government rally in the capital Caracas. Gunfire was heard, and more than 100 people were reported wounded.

Maduro said the opposition had “failed in their plan. They failed in their call, because the people of Venezuela want peace.”


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