Tehran Seeks Regional Stability, Not Dominance

Tehran Seeks Regional Stability, Not DominanceTehran Seeks Regional Stability, Not Dominance

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reaffirmed Iran's policy to uphold the territorial integrity and sovereignty rights of other Middle Eastern nations, dismissing accusations of seeking regional dominance.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran feels bound to preserve the territorial integrity and independence of regional countries, and believes its interests hinge on a strong, advanced and stable region," Zarif was quoted as saying by IRNA.

He was addressing a conference on the Islamic Republic's foreign policy in Tehran on Monday.  

Saudi Arabia and its regional and western allies have accused Tehran of pursuing a policy of expansionism and interference in the internal affairs of other countries, charges that Iran has flatly denied.

Tensions between Tehran and Riyadh have soared under Salman bin Abdulaziz who ascended to the Saudi throne in January 2015, culminating in a decision by the oil kingdom to cut diplomatic ties in early 2016.

That decision followed the attacks on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Tehran and Mashhad by protesters who were denouncing Riyadh's execution of a prominent Shia cleric without due process of law.

Backing for rival sides in the conflicts across the region has fueled hostility between the two regional powerhouses.

Saudi leaders have spurned the Islamic Republic's repeated calls for dialogue to settle the differences.

Iranian military advisors have been instrumental in helping the Iraqi Army defeat and drive out the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group that captured swathes of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014 and declared a "caliphate".

Iran also deployed advisory missions in Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad fight a patchwork of armed insurgent groups backed by a coalition comprised of Saudi Arabia and other regional and western powers.

The Iranian military advisors were dispatched to the war-torn Arab countries at the request of the two governments.

The administration of the United States, a staunch ally of Saudi Arabia, has also taken a harsh line against the Islamic Republic and a nuclear deal it brokered with major powers in 2015.

US President Donald Trump, who took office in January 2017, has railed against the landmark nuclear agreement, which swapped a sanctions removal for time-bound curbs on Tehran's nuclear work.

The US president has expressed concern over Tehran's growing missile program and regional clout, and declined to recertify Tehran's compliance with the accord in October.

He has threatened to end the US participation in the agreement unless its terms are revised to accommodate his non-nuclear concerns.  Trump's threat has been rebuffed by other signatories, including Washington's European allies who have acknowledged his grievances but ruled out any renegotiation of the international pact.


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