November 27, 2020

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Zarif calls on neighbors to choose peace over tension

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called on neighboring countries to choose peace, security, stability and prosperity for all instead of remaining prisoners of the past and perpetuate instability and tension in the region.

Zarif made the remarks in an address to a virtual debate of the United Nations Security Council under the title “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Comprehensive Review of the Situation in the Persian Gulf” on Tuesday.

Pointing to the Hormuz Peace Endeavor—or HOPE—that was proposed by President Rouhani in his address to the UN General Assembly last year, Zarif said Iran stands by that initiative which is the culmination of various Iranian proposals for security and confidence building in the Persian Gulf region.

He said in the past couple of decades, the region has been the scene of several wars, massive foreign military buildups, ensuing nightmare of extremism and terrorism, dangerous accumulation of the most sophisticated weaponry, and aggression and power projection by various actors.

The foreign minister added, “The disparities in power, geographic size, and natural and human resources are very real. Historical anxieties and rivalries among many regional countries cannot be overlooked.” 

“We know that most of our neighbors prefer peace and dialogue… That cannot be achieved if one or two pursue confrontation and wishfully wait for alien vampires to ‘cut their neighbor’s head’. That delusion will never be realized.”

He named three flawed prescriptions that have caused catastrophic consequences, saying, “First, that you can purchase security from others: Be it from Saddam Hussein invading Iran on some of our neighbor’s behalf; or from the U.S. coming to rescue our neighbors from the monster that they had together created; or through unprecedented purchase of military hardware.”

According to Zarif, the second flawed prescription is that “you can have security at the expense of the insecurity of your neighbors: Be it Iran, Kuwait or Qatar at one time or another.”

The third, he continued, is that “you can establish regional hegemony: Be it in Yemen, North Africa or the Horn of Africa.”

He condemned extra-regional actors for looking at the regional disparities, unending rivalries, and new hegemonic illusions as opportunities to expand their military presence and to sell more weapons.

The U.S. has deployed nearly 50,000 troops in the Persian Gulf region in 29 military installations with more than 300 combat aircraft, he said, adding that the U.S. has “at least one aircraft carrier patrolling our waters at any given time, as well as tens of destroyers and other vessels with four Central Command Headquarters for its Army and its Special Forces, Air Force, and Navy.”

Iran not intending to engage in arms race, says Zarif

Zarif also voiced Tehran’s appreciation to the overwhelming majority of Security Council members for rejecting U.S. efforts to kill the JCPOA and Security Council Resolution 2231. 

Iran does not intend to engage in an arms race in the region and start a buying spree in spite of the end of Security Council restrictions, the foreign minister highlighted.

Zarif called on regional countries to envisage a broad spectrum of cooperation and confidence-building measures that include water management, environmental protection, nuclear safety, energy security, education, tourism, economic cooperation, trade, investment, poverty eradication and people empowerment.

“We know that most of our neighbors prefer peace and dialogue,” he stated. “That cannot be achieved if one or two pursue confrontation and wishfully wait for alien vampires to ‘cut their neighbor’s head’. That delusion will never be realized.”

“We all have anxieties and grievances. Certainly, Iranians will never forget 8 years of an imposed war: the aggressor fully financed by our neighbors,” Zarif reminded the regional countries.

“So, we can choose to remain prisoners of the past and perpetuate instability and tension. Or, all of us—and I stress all—can choose peace, security, stability and prosperity for all. The choice, surely, should be obvious to everyone,” the chief Iranian diplomat concluded.

MH/PA

Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/453806/Zarif-calls-on-neighbors-to-choose-peace-over-tension

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