Iran Calls for Broader Regional Cooperation
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman called on the regional nations to forge stronger cooperation to prevent outsiders from intervening in issues that are naturally the preserve of Persian Gulf countries.
“We call on the Persian Gulf regional countries to step up bilateral and multilateral collaborations and ask them not to make way for the foreigners,” Marziyeh Afkham said in her weekly press conference on Tuesday.
She also expressed Iran’s opposition to any foreign interference in regional developments, and asserted, “The Persian Gulf belongs to the region’s countries.”
Her comments came days after US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a speech at the Manama Dialogue forum on Saturday that Washington’s diplomacy would ultimately be backed up by military commitments and cooperation with regional partners.
"We know diplomacy cannot operate in a vacuum... Our success will continue to hinge on America's military power, and the credibility of our assurances to our allies and partners in the Middle East," Hagel said.
The Pentagon “will place even more emphasis on building the capacity of our partners in order to complement our strong military presence in the region,” Hagel said.
In reaction to Hagel’s provocative comments, Afkham said, “Repetition of such remarks would have no effect, it only aggravates the divisions, and the regional issues should be settled by the region’s countries.”
Recently, Iran has embarked on an intensive diplomatic push to improve ties with its neighbors in line with the policy of the country's new administration which "gives priority to relations with its neighbors and also the regional countries."
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has traveled to four regional countries since the beginng of this month and hopes to visit Saudi Arabia in the near future.
Zarif had announced earlier that Iran wanted stronger cooperation with Saudi Arabia, and that he was ready to travel to that country.
"We look at Saudi Arabia as an important and influential regional country and we are working to strengthen cooperation with it for the benefit of the region," said Iran's top diplomat.
While in Muscat, Oman, Zarif urged Saudi Arabia to work together with Iran toward achieving peace and stability in the volatile region.
"We believe that Iran and Saudi Arabia should work together in order to promote peace and stability in the region," Zarif said.