Iran 'Part of Solution' to Regional Conflicts: Kofi Annan

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Former UN chief Kofi Annan said Tuesday that US President Donald Trump should reach out and talk to Iran, stressing that the Islamic Republic is “part of the solution” to the ongoing conflicts in the region.

Iran 'Part of Solution' to Regional Conflicts: Kofi Annan

"Iran is part of the solution" to the conflicts in the Middle East, including Syria and Iraq, "and we cannot get away from that fact”, Anan told The Associated Press.

Annan, who heads a group of former leaders founded by Nelson Mandela called The Elders, said if he had the chance he would tell Trump his antagonistic policy toward Iran is not going to do anything to bring peace to the Middle East.

During his current Mideast trip, Trump has been urging Arab leaders to join Israel in opposing Iran, claiming that Iran is destabilizing Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Annan also described incumbent president Hassan Rouhani's re-election "as a sign that the Iranian people clearly desire peaceful relations with the outside world and a more tolerant society at home."

He added that Iranians reiterated support for the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and six major powers and expressed the hope that "his re-election means all signatories will continue to work in good faith for its full implementation."

Rouhani won Friday’s presidential election by securing an absolute majority of the votes. He emerged victorious and secured a second term by winning 57 percent of the votes. 

"What is required is steps which diffuse tensions and divisions, and not steps which deepen divisions," Annan said. "And we need to be very careful of what action we take, what we say, because words can soothe, they can calm but they can also provoke and they can also excite."

He said he would also tell Trump that the US should honor the nuclear agreement, which he called a "good" deal. And he would also tell him "it is important to reach out and talk to Iran."

Trump recently raised the possibility of meeting North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and Annan said, "Iran has shown more discipline and responsibility than North Korea."

So if Trump is prepared to meet Kim, he said, "I can't understand why he can't go to Iran, a nation that by signing the agreement is also trying to open up and reach out to the broader world - and that should be encouraged rather than be pushed the other way."

Annan said it's difficult to predict what might happen if Iran is pushed too far, "but what we should learn is that it wasn't sanctions, it wasn't tough actions, that brought the nuclear agreement - it was engagement."

Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) reached the nuclear deal in July 2015.


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