Tehran Proposes Inclusive Regional Security Arrangement

The second edition of Tehran Security Conference was held on Jan. 8. The second edition of Tehran Security Conference was held on Jan. 8.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif proposed an inclusive and integrated security model for the Middle East, which can meet the needs of all regional countries, stressing that alliances and coalitions formed among certain countries have proved to be inefficient.

"Given the current interconnected world and the special conditions in our Persian Gulf region, which has experienced the most bitter and destructive crises in the past four decades, engaging in bloc-formation and alliances have proven to be ineffective, as each power bloc forewarns a forthcoming crisis and aggression," Zarif said, according to a transcript of his speech to the second edition of Tehran Security Conference on Monday posted on the Foreign Ministry's website.

The top diplomat noted that "security networking, based on synergy and inclusion, is the only way out of this dangerous vicious circle."

Elaborating on the idea, Zarif said "security networking" is a model where all big and small regional states would participate on the basis of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, including avoiding threat or use of force, non-intervention in the domestic affairs of others and respect for territorial integrity.

He encouraged other countries to double down on their efforts toward creating a "strong region" based on the interests of all countries in the Persian Gulf region and the application of "the win-win rule".

"Efforts made toward creating a strong region instead of seeking hegemony and trying to exclude other actors is rooted in the Islamic Republic of Iran's strategic vision for our region."

***Prerequisites to Desired State  

Zarif said to attain the optimal security situation, the regional countries should first rely on "dialogue and confidence-building measures."

"It is obvious that at all levels in our region we are facing a dialogue deficit. Our governments are in need of assuring dialogue now more than any time in the past," he said.

He described the tensions and numerous past wars in the region as destructive activities that have led to a "mutual-trust crisis" among regional countries, adding that to tackle this issue steps should be taken to build confidence and decrease the level of concerns.

Zarif highlighted the "exchange of information" in all areas as the main confidence-building measure, explaining that exchange of information is to inform counterparts about the objectives and aims and preclude misunderstandings and misconceptions.

Echoing the lack of regional dialogue, former British foreign minister Jack Straw, who was one of the participants at the event, said that "the security arrangement in West Asia has failed and this is because regional players do not count themselves as part of the problems, especially in case of Syria, Iraq and to some extent Lebanon."

He added that since last January and with Donald Trump assuming office in the US, "the situation has deteriorated and attention in foreign diplomacy has been instead on ethnocentrism."


***Dangerous Delusion

Zarif also criticized the approach adopted by some regional players who want to be secure at the cost of endangering their neighbors' security, calling it a "dangerous delusion".

"Our experience in this region in the past four decades has proven that any such attempt first and foremost haunt those who seek to bring wars and bloodshed on their neighbors, he said, pointing to the US-backed Saudi-led coalition war on Yemen.

Rebuking the coalition for its ongoing war on the impoverished nation, Zarif said," Following 33 months of senseless bombing campaign, aggressors should have realized by now that this crisis has no military solution."

He called on the coalition to immediately stop the war and engage in dialogue to resolve the crisis.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its allies have been pounding Yemen—already the Arab world's most impoverished nation—since March 2015 to restore a former regime that they favored.

At least 13,000 people have been killed during Saudi airstrikes and much of the Arabian Peninsula country's infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and factories, has been reduced to rubble due to the war.

Last year, the United Nations children's agency (UNICEF) said that more than 11 million children in Yemen were in acute need of aid, stressing that it was estimated that every 10 minutes a child died of a preventable disease there.

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