Iran Keen to Foster Cooperation With Turkey

Iran Keen to Foster  Cooperation With TurkeyIran Keen to Foster  Cooperation With Turkey

Iran intends to rein in tensions and foster cooperation with its northwestern neighbor Turkey, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

Asked about Tehran’s policy on Istanbul at a regular press conference on Monday, Hossein Jaber Ansari said Iran attaches high importance to ties with its “important and big neighbor”, ISNA reported.

“The two countries have had a history of cooperation and of course competition and tensions. Iran is following a policy that aims to expand collaboration with Turkey and effectively manage differences and keep bilateral ties on a normal track,” he said.

“It is quite normal to see some rivalry between countries. What matters is how countries exercise wisdom and prudence to prevent such rivalries from developing into hostility and this constitutes Iran’s policy in its interaction with other countries, including Turkey.”

  Saudis Should Make First Move

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif traveled to Tehran and Saudi Arabia last week with an offer to mediate in ending tensions between the two regional powers.

Tensions erupted after the Saudi execution of the leading Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr early this month, leading to the storming of Saudi missions in Tehran and Mashhad by outraged Iranian protesters.

Riyadh severed diplomatic relations and cut off trade and transport ties with the Islamic Republic.

Asked about Tehran’s response to Sharif’s offer, Ansari said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly made clear that it welcomes any well-meant measure in this relation by friendly and brotherly countries, but believes that the success of any mediation effort is contingent on Saudis’ abandonment of their provocative policies.”

The spokesman said it is Saudi Arabia that should step forward to settle the differences, because the Arab kingdom decided to cut relations in the first place.

“But so far there has been no sign of such an intention on the Saudis’ part,” he said.

Ansari denied that the visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Iran over the weekend, which immediately followed a trip to Saudi Arabia, was also aimed at addressing Tehran-Riyadh tensions.

“The visit by the Chinese president to Tehran had been scheduled well in advance. The trip was meant to help boost bilateral relations and was not directly linked to the recent developments [between Tehran and Riyadh]”.

He dismissed the reports of an imminent trip to Tehran by German Chancellor Angela Merkel but said Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier plans to visit.

  No Shift in Iran-US Relations

Commenting on reports suggesting a possible improvement in Tehran-Washington relations that are at odds with the apparent US support for Saudis in their latest spat with Iran, Ansari reiterated that the nuclear agreement was a special case.

“There has been no strategic shift in relations between Iran and the United States. So it is not surprising to see the Americans pursue their typical policy, just as Iran will stick to its normal policy based on its foreign policy strategy,” he said.

A deal reached between Iran and the US and fellow permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany in July to settle a 12-year dispute over Tehran’s nuclear issue went into force earlier this month.

US Secretary of State John Kerry met foreign ministers of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council on Saturday to ease their concerns about allegedly warming US-Iran relations.

Speaking at a news conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir after the meeting, Kerry said, “I think there is no doubt whatsoever in the minds of the countries that make up the [P]GCC that the United States will stand with them against any external threat,” the Guardian reported.