Tue Jan 8, 2013 11:17AM
Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has urged US officials to stop their warmongering policies against nations to lessen the world’s hatred toward Washington. During his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Mehmanparast expressed hope that Washington would change its approach toward the world’s nations and seek peace instead of war. Mehmanparast advised the US authorities to respect the rights of the nations and not to interfere in other countries’ affairs for the world to show less hatred toward the United States. Commenting on the new US nominee for defense secretary Chuck Hagel, Mehmanparast said, “We hope that practical changes would occur in the US foreign policy and respect for nations’ rights would become Washington’s (new) approach.” Iranian detainees in Saudi Arabia Mehmanparast further called for the resolution of the issue of the recent arrest of Iranian fishermen in Saudi Arabia. On January 2, the Saudi coast guard arrested 21 Iranian nationals who were on board two boats near al-Harqus Island, 78 km off its coast. The Saudi coast guard said in a statement on January 4 that the Iranian detainees were being questioned. However, it provided no further details about the incident. Mehmanparast said the entry of fishing boats into either nation’s territorial waters should be resolved through border control organizations within a framework agreed upon by both countries. “This is a natural issue which occurs between neighboring countries,” he said, adding, “These issues should not be allowed to become politicized and affect countries’ relations.” The unrest in Syria Referring to the Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi’s upcoming trip to Egypt, Mehmanparast said, “Important issues regarding bilateral ties and regional developments such as Syria are on this visit’s agenda.” Mehmanparast called on all countries to help bring about the “best conditions” for the resolution of the crisis in Syria. “The plan that [Syrian President] Mr. [Bashar] al-Assad proposed had been presented in different countries by his special envoy prior to Assad’s speech,” the Iranian official added. In a key speech on Sunday, Assad called for an end to terrorist operations inside Syria and urged "concerned states and parties" to stop funding, arming and harboring militants. Assad added that his government is always ready to hold talks with the opposition and political parties and would call for a “comprehensive national dialog” after foreign parties end their support for the militants and the terrorist activities end in the country. Mehmanparast added that consultations between various countries on Assad’s plan can improve the conditions in Syria. “We announced our clear views,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said, adding, “Consultation between us and the countries that agree with the plan and support it are ongoing.” Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security personnel, have been killed in the violence. The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants fighting the Syrian government are foreign nationals. The Iranians abducted in Syria Pointing to the issue of the Iranians abducted in Syria, Mehmanparast said Iran’s Foreign Ministry is pursuing the matter through various channels in Syria and the influential countries in the region that are in contact with the kidnappers. He said the measures aimed at securing the release of Iranian nationals have yielded “favorable results,” adding that the abductees are in good health. On August 4, 48 Iranian pilgrims, who were traveling on a bus from Damascus International Airport to the shrine of Hazrat Zainab (AS) on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus, were abducted by the militants in Syria. YH/MYA/HMV/HJL
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