Zarif Proposes Regional Forum on Key Issues

A combination of factors has produced an explosive mix in the region, including systematic interventions to reshape the regional architecture in favor of western powers and the failure of state system in parts of the region
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses the 53rd Munich Security Conference on Feb. 19. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses the 53rd Munich Security Conference on Feb. 19.
The emergence of big terror groups and the cycle of unprecedented barbaric violence in the region were triggered by the foreign military misadventures of early 2000s

Iran's top diplomat said countries in the Persian Gulf region need to surmount "the current state of division and tension" and develop a "realistic regional security arrangement".

"It can perhaps start with a modest regional dialogue forum, based on generally recognized principles and shared objectives. The forum can promote understanding on a broad spectrum of issues, ranging from confidence- and security-building measures to combating terrorism, extremism and sectarianism," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in his address to the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Germany on Sunday, IRNA reported. 

"Such a forum could eventually even develop into a more formal nonaggression and security cooperation arrangement." 

Zarif said Iran took a major step in this regard last Wednesday, when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani paid a daylong visit to Oman and Kuwait. 

Rouhani's trip, his first since becoming president in 2013, was apparently in connection with a late January message by the six-member (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council relayed to Tehran through Kuwait, on their willingness to promote bilateral ties through dialogue.

The message came after years of calls by Iranian officials for negotiations between Persian Gulf states to settle misunderstandings.  

Iran's relations with some Persian Gulf neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia, have declined to unprecedented lows in recent years. 

Zarif told Iranian lawmakers last week that he expects fence-mending talks between Tehran and its Persian Gulf Arab neighbors to begin in two months.

In his Sunday speech, the senior diplomat reiterated Iran's stance that conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain do not have military solutions.

Zarif said these problems can be solved politically, but only when they are defined in a "non-zero-sum way". 

"Each requires a political solution where no genuine actor is excluded from the process or marginalized at the end," he said.

The foreign minister said the "historic success of diplomacy" in settling a 12-year dispute over Iran's nuclear program is proof that political efforts work. 

"[It came when] all parties concerned recognized that they had to give up their maximalist expectations in favor of a working compromise."

After two years of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, they managed to land the July 2015 nuclear deal, which curbed Iran's nuclear program in return for the removal of nuclear sanctions.

***Finger-Pointing Not Useful

Pointing to the "nightmare" of extremist violence and terror in West Asia, Zarif said this problem is also solvable, but "the first necessary step in addressing the challenge is to redefine the problem in a way that is conducive to a collective solution".

He said a combination of various factors has produced "a literally explosive mix", including "marginalization" of some young people in their societies, systematic political and military interventions to reshape the regional architecture in favor of western powers, the failure of the state system in parts of the region and nearly-four-decade global proliferation of takfiri ideology to confront an erroneously-framed "radical" Iran.

Zarif said "finger-pointing" would not be useful for ending the sufferings of regional nations, adding that "in a world where security actors have multiplied and where non-state actors have gained a significant ... place in the global security arena, no single power ...  or even a concert of major powers can address global or regional challenges by excluding or blaming others".

Iran's foreign policy chief said the emergence of big terror groups and "the cycle of totally unprecedented ruthless and barbaric violence" were triggered by the foreign military misadventures of early 2000s, while the arming of these groups by some states in the region cannot be ignored.  

Zarif said by supporting terrorist outfits, certain regional states "hoped to kill two birds with one stone".

"[They sought] to divert the existential threat of domestic discontent with dysfunctional state system, while hoping to restore the perceived regional equilibrium that existed prior to the ouster of [former Iraqi dictator] Saddam Hussein," he said.


Donald trump and his fellow friends like bb and his advisors should learn from mr zarif and use his advisement .is definetly more accepted than bannon and bb .history will tell the truth about them .

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints