Tehran’s Influence Spiritual, Not Interventionist

Tehran’s Influence Spiritual, Not InterventionistTehran’s Influence Spiritual, Not Interventionist

Iran enjoys "spiritual influence" in regional countries, which is different from intervening in their internal affairs, a deputy foreign minister said.

"Certainly, we have spiritual influence in all countries of the region, but this influence does not amount to meddling in their affairs. Some countries and their senior diplomats demand that Iran ignore its influence in the region. Who would do that?" Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was quoted as saying by ISNA.

The deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs made the statements in a conference on Syria at Tehran's prestigious Sharif University of Technology on Monday.

"Iran has gained such an influence because it has pursued a logical policy over the past 37 years. We use it to promote national interests and contribute to the Muslim world. Those who interpret the influence as intervention are under a misunderstanding," he said.

Amir-Abdollahian accompanied Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to a peace conference in Vienna on Saturday for finding a political solution to a conflict that has plagued Syria for over four years.

At the end of the international talks, the participants, including top diplomats from 18 countries, released a joint statement that outlined a roadmap for a Syrian-led political process leading to "free and fair" elections in two years.

According to the statement, the countries involved in the talks, which back opposing sides in the Syria war, pledged adherence to a ceasefire to be established within six months.

  Zarif's Initiative

Amir-Abdollahian said the truce was the initiative presented by Zarif in the meeting.

"It was a clear and explicit proposal by Zarif that the issue of the ceasefire be included in the final statement," he said.

Pointing to Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris by the so-called Islamic States militant group, he said on the sidelines of Tehran's conference that some regional and non-regional countries empowered IS militants by ignoring Iran's warnings about the consequences of their policies.

"We have always warned those who support terrorists, including IS militants, that they risk terrorism-induced insecurity spilling over into their own countries," he was quoted as saying by IRNA.