Zarif Dismayed at Turkish Belligerence

Zarif Dismayed at Turkish BelligerenceZarif Dismayed at Turkish Belligerence

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed dismay at the recent "improper" remarks by Turkish officials against the Islamic Republic.

In a speech at the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Germany on February 19, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu criticized what he called Iran's "sectarian policy" in the region. 

Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had accused Iran of promoting "Persian nationalism". 

Reacting on Friday, Zarif told Fars News Agency that Turkish officials have been entangled in the consequences of their "past mistakes" and are now attempting to play a blame game by making accusations against Iran, Press TV reported. 

"Unfortunately, the wrong policies of the Turkish government in the past have created a situation that they [Turkish officials] have to project the blame; it is regrettable that they do so," he said.

Turkey has been involved in unauthorized military operations in Syria to pursue its own agenda of preventing Kurdish forces from amassing near its borders after supporting militants fighting the Syrian government. "We hope that regional countries would fully comprehend the need for cooperation ... and that such cooperation would turn into the topic of the day instead of such improper remarks," the top Iranian diplomat said.

Iran had earlier summoned the Turkish ambassador in Tehran for a diplomatic rebuke over the remarks by Cavusoglu and Erdogan. The Iranian Foreign Ministry had also warned that there was a limit to Tehran's patience with the Turkish fickleness.

  Weak Memory 

On Thursday, in an interview with the daily Iran, Zarif had recalled Iran's supportive stance toward the Turkish government following a failed coup attempt that sought to oust the Erdogan administration in July last year and said the Islamic Republic did not expect the behavior recently displayed by the Turks.

Following the coup, Iran voiced full support for the Ankara government and Zarif traveled to Ankara to carry a message of support for the Turkish government. He even visited the damaged parliament building in the Turkish capital, shelled by rogue soldiers. 

"[Our] friends [in Turkey] apparently have a weak memory," he said in the Thursday interview. "They both have a poor memory and are ungrateful toward those who have been kind to them and supportive of them."

Also speaking at the Munich conference, the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Israel seemed to echo one another—and Cavusoglu—by making anti-Iran remarks of their own.

In his Thursday interview, Zarif called Saudi Arabia and the other regimes working in tandem against Iran "the Coalition of the Defeated". 

"Once ... I said that the international anti-Daesh [an Arabic acronym for the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group] coalition is 'the Coalition of the Repentant;' now I say it is 'the Coalition of the Defeated.' All the parties that have failed in our region have formed a coalition and are saying things. I think one shouldn't take them very seriously," he said.

The foreign minister noted that while Iran has been speaking—including in the Munich Security Conference where Zarif himself represented Iran—of cooperation and dialogue, the anti-Iran regimes have been "throwing wrenches in the works, which is often not what the powerful side does".

"The powerful side should lay out its plans and speak of what the future should look like, not call others names," he said.

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