Interaction With Arabs Can Enhance Region’s Stability

Interaction With Arabs Can Enhance Region’s StabilityInteraction With Arabs Can Enhance Region’s Stability

The Middle East will certainly benefit from the July 14 nuclear accord between Iran and the six world powers and cordial ties between Tehran and Riyadh can help put an end to regional conflicts.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the remark in a meeting with media directors and editors-in-chief of major news outlets from the Arab world including Kuwait's 'Al Rai' newspaper on Tuesday in Tehran, Fars News Agency reported.

"Iran supports negotiations with Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, to defuse regional conflicts," Zarif said, stressing that the kingdom's "security is important for Iran but Riyadh is seemingly oblivious of this fact."

 On the future of Tehran-Riyadh relations, he said he believes that "Iranophobia" prevails in the Arab world and an effective media campaign is needed to change the wrong mindsets.

"What we concentrate on, more than anything else, is reducing the security threat which has always jeopardized Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq," Zarif asserted, adding that Tehran will continue to search for ways to normalize ties with Saudi Arabia as "we both have common interests and face similar challenges."

Attaching importance to defeating terror in the region, Zarif reiterated, "With the assistance of our friends and close neighbors, defeating extremism will not be an unattainable task and is beyond political slogans."

Appreciating Kuwait's positive role with respect to the hajj catastrophe in Mecca earlier this month, he said,  "The Emir (Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah) played a key role in persuading Saudi officials to provide Iran with information about the casualties."

Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been strained over different geo-political issues such as the interpretations of Islam, oil export policy as well as relations with the US and the West.

Tensions between Tehran and Riyadh intensified following last month's crush of Hajj pilgrims near Mecca, which claimed the lives hundreds of worshippers, including 465 Iranians

The foreign minister recalled the Persian Gulf Arab kingdoms/sheikdoms' unwavering support for the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in his brutal war against Iran that cut short the life of almost a million people in both countries. The 1980-88 military hostilities devastated Iran's economy. "Iran was the victim of the unprovoked conflict, but Tehran did not seek reparations from Saddam's (Arab) bankrollers," Zarif told the media group.

Underscoring Iran's declared policy of not interfering in the internal affairs of other states, he rejected all accusations against Iran regarding the "al-Abdali" terrorist cell whose suspected members were reportedly arrested with huge arms cache by Kuwaiti security official in August.

While the Kuwaiti government did not specify to what "terror" cell the suspects belonged, Kuwait's Arabic-language al-Anba newspaper claimed the arms had been smuggled from Iraq and stored by members of the cell linked to the Iran-backed Hezbollah group based in Lebanon.