Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reaffirmed Iran’s readiness for talks with all its neighbors amid tensions in the Persian Gulf region.
“Iran remains open to dialogue with its neighbors, and we declare our readiness to participate in any complementary work that is in the interest of the region, and we welcome any step that restores hope to its people and brings them stability and prosperity,” Zarif said in a tweet in Thursday.
The tweet was in Arabic, which suggests it was addressed to the Persian Gulf littoral Arab countries. It came a day after Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said Riyadh was ready for talks with Tehran “but it is really up to Iran.”
تبقی ايران منفتحة للحوار مع جاراتها و نعلن عن استعدادنا للمشارکة في أي عمل تکاملي يصب في مصلحة المنطقة ونرحّب بأي خطوة تعيد الأمل إلی شعوبها وتأتي لها بالإستقرار والإزدهار
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 23, 2020
The top Saudi diplomat, however, repeated the baseless claims against Iran’s role in the region, adding that the precondition for dialog is for the Isamic Republic to accept it “cannot further its regional agenda through violence.”
Speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos, he said he was glad the region has “avoided any escalation” with Iran, and that “many countries” have offered to mediate talks with Tehran.
Meanwhile, the Iranian president’s chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, said Wednesday that Tehran and Riyadh should work together to overcome their problems.
“The relations between Iran and its neighbor Saudi Arabia should not become like the relationship between Tehran and the United States … Tehran and Riyadh should work together to resolve their problems,” Vaezi said.
At an event in the Indian city of Mumbai on Friday in coordination with All India Association of Industries (AIAI), Zarif also voiced Iran’s readiness to hold talks with Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries to promote regional security.
He added that Iran has also presented proposals on ways to establish peace in the Strait of Hormuz.
In an address to the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019, President Hassan Rouhani said as a steward of maritime security in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, Iran invites all countries that are affected by developments in the strategic region to join the country’s new regional peace initiative, dubbed Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE).
Iran’s initiative comes as the US has been trying to persuade its allies into a maritime coalition purportedly seeking to boost security in the Persian Gulf, after it blamed Tehran for two separate attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in May and June, without providing any credible evidence to back up the allegation, which Iran has categorically rejected.
Tehran has repeatedly said outsiders not only cannot safeguard the region, but will fuel tensions there. Iran believes it is the countries of the very region which can ensure regional peace.
Prior to the Hormuz initiative, Iran had offered to sign non-aggression agreements with all countries in the Persian Gulf region.
Zarif also said in late May 2019 that Iran sought the best of relations with the Persian Gulf littoral countries and would welcome any proposals for dialog and de-escalation toward that end.