Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic pursues the basic and unchanging policy of developing ties with all countries based on mutual respect and non-interference in one another’s domestic affairs. The new Iranian administration seeks to enhance its foreign relations, particularly with all neighboring countries, on the basis of “moderation,” Zarif said Wednesday in a meeting with foreign ambassadors and representatives to Tehran.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that ensuring and reinforcing stability and security in the region and the world depends on constructive cooperation and interaction among all countries, and the era of unilateralism and applying coercion as well as military tools to provide security has come to an end,” he added.Zarif stressed that the development and use of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) is in contravention of religious and Islamic tenets as well as international rules. Weapons of mass destruction have no place in the defense doctrine of Iran, the top diplomat said, emphasizing that WMDs would not guarantee security for any country, including Iran. Stressing the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear energy program, he underlined the need for the recognition of the country’s right to use atomic technology for civilian purposes. He said that Tehran was ready to continue cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the P5+1 group to remove any ambiguities, but reiterated that the other side also needs to demonstrate its serious determination in that regard. Commenting on the recent war rhetoric against Syria under the unsubstantiated pretext of the use of chemical weapons by the government, Zarif said that Iran, as a victim of chemical arms, condemned any use of WMDs by anyone. He also expressed Iran’s firm opposition to a military attack against Syria. Pointing to growing violence, extremism and terrorism in the region, the top diplomat said that, “Iran believes the only way out of the existing problems in the region is a political solution and cooperation and interaction among all regional countries to counter the evil phenomena of extremism and terrorism.” He recalled the defeat of major powers in their wars against Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, saying unilateral military action will not only be detrimental to the security and stability of regional countries, but will also harm the long-term interests of the invading countries. He said a military option is doomed to failure. He expressed hope that countries world over will adopt a firm stance toward the threat of using the military option, especially against Syria. Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million of others displaced due to the violence. The war rhetoric against Syria intensified after foreign-backed opposition forces accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of having launched a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus last week. However, Damascus categorically rejected the claim, and announced later that the chemical attack had actually been carried out by the militants themselves as a false flag operation. AR/NN/HJL