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Zarif slams US-proposed 'Coalition for Peaceful Resolution' targeting Iran

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrives to attend a meeting with the acting director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Cornel Feruta in the Iranian capital Tehran on September 8, 2019. (Photo by Borna News Agency)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has slammed the US' proposed "Coalition for Peaceful Resolution" seeking to "counter" Iran.

Zarif compared the US-backed initiative to a list of eight peace initiatives proposed by Tehran in a tweet on Friday.

Among the list were the Iran's recently proposed Persian Gulf region non-aggression pact, the 2017 Astana accord for Syria and a 2015 peace plan for Yemen.

Zarif made the tweet a day after Washington said it was seeking to create an anti-Iran coalition. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had described the initiative as a "coalition aimed at achieving peace."

Washington's so-called "coalition" announcement came in response to an attack led by Yemeni Armed Forces against Saudi Arabia's oil facilities over the weekend.

The attack effectively halved the kingdom's oil production.

Washington and Riyadh rushed to blame Tehran for the air raids, prompting an outright rejection from Iranian officials.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating western-backed war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.

Resistance by Yemen’s armed forces, led by Ansarullah, has, however, pushed the Saudi war to a stalemate, with Yemeni forces increasingly using sophisticated home-made weaponry in retaliatory strikes against the coalition.

Earlier on Friday, Zarif also slammed US hypocrisy regarding the war on Yemen, highlighting that Washington effectively valued oil more than the Yemeni lives lost amid the ongoing aggression against the country.

Zarif heads to New York despite visa delay

Iran’s top diplomat made the remarks shortly before leaving Tehran to attend to the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is also scheduled to go to New York on Monday.

Zarif's departure comes after a long visa delay for the Iranian delegation had prompted wide speculation regarding possible cancellation of the foreign minister and the president's trip.

The US imposed sanctions on the Iranian foreign minister late July, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claiming that the top Iranian diplomat is a “key enabler” of Iran’s policies throughout the region and the world.

The move was seen as part of Washington's campaign of “maximum pressure” against Tehran in a bid to isolate and weaken the country after Trump withdrew from the Iran 2015 nuclear deal May last year, and re-imposed sanctions lifted under the landmark agreement.

Asked about whether Iranian officials would be banned from taking part in the UN General assembly on Wednesday, Pompeo had suggested that Washington may consider the measure.

“I would say this: if you’re connected to a foreign terrorist organization, it seems to me it would be a reasonable thing to think about whether they ought to be prevented to attend a meeting which is about peace," he said.

Zarif, however, slammed his "novice counterpart's" remarks on Thursday, reminding him that Washington was obligated to issue the visas.

Despite Pompeo's earlier remarks, President Trump said he would "let them come" when asked about the matter on Thursday, raising speculation that the president was unaware of the visa issue.

"I’ve always felt the United Nations is very important. I think it’s got tremendous potential. I don’t think it’s ever lived up to the potential it has, but I would certainly not want to keep people out if they want to come.”

Zarif's departure on Friday also came shortly after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the international body had intervened to solve the matter.

"We have been in contact with the host-state to solve all outstanding visa problems in relation to delegations and I hope that this will allow to solve the problem," he said.

Trump has repeatedly signaled his apparent willingness to meet with Iranian officials in a bid to "renegotiate" the 2015 nuclear deal, with some analysts floating the idea that a meeting could have taken place in the upcoming UN General Assembly.

Iranian officials have, however, dismissed any prospect of talks as long as the US doesn't adhere to the previously multilaterally-agreed nuclear deal.

On Tuesday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said that Iran will not engage in negotiations with the US “at any level,” and that Washington's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran had failed to achieve its goals.


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