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Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:31AM
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast says the differences between Iran and regional countries over the ongoing crisis in Syria should not affect bilateral relations. In an exclusive interview with IRNA on Saturday, Mehmanparast said neighboring and regional countries should not base their relations with Tehran on developments in Syria. “The expansion of relations with regional countries, particularly our neighboring countries, is one of our top foreign policy priorities. We will do our utmost to utilize the enormous potential for cooperation… [with] neighboring and regional states,” he stated. He also described regional cooperation for the establishment of a stable, secure, and calm region as the best solution. Mehmanparast said solutions worked out through regional cooperation, rather than the intervention of foreign forces, should solve the crises in the region. The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman noted that instability in any regional country can influence Iran’s security, and thus insecurity could spill over into all states of the region. “Of course, regional countries should show more concern for the establishment of… peace and stability [in their own countries] rather than worrying about states that are thousands of kilometers away. There are political disagreements among regional heads of state over various issues, which is natural,” Mehmanparast added. All countries will never reach a consensus on all international developments, since that would run contrary to human nature, but such differences should not undermine friendly relations, he observed. Negotiations, consultations, meetings, and dialogue should be held when disagreements arise so the parties involved can express their views and explain the rationale behind their opinions and then devise the best solution, Mehmanparast said. Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence. The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the insurgents are foreign nationals. MP/HGL
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