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Iran has no enmity towards neighbors: Top commander

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri speaks at the parliament in Tehran on September 24, 2019. (Photo by Icana)

Iran’s top military commander has reaffirmed that the country has no enmity towards neighboring states, highlighting the importance of regional cooperation to ensure security in the region.

Speaking at an open parliamentary session in Tehran on Tuesday, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri called on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to change course and end their hostilities with Iran in favor of collective efforts to safeguard the region.

“We tell the neighboring countries that we do not have any enmity towards you, he said. “The countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE are Muslim states that have lost their path and should stand shoulder to shoulder with Iran to preserve security in the region.”

Baqeri further said Iran has an “independent” defense industry which will be employed to the benefit of the entire Islamic world.

“Everyone should know that regional security can [solely] be ensured through cooperation among the region’s countries,” he added.

“We have repeatedly told the enemy that any violation toward our country will face the same kind of response that was used to deal with the American drone and the British tanker,” he said.

Baqeri was referring the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)’s downing of an advanced US-made RQ-4 Global Hawk over Iran's territorial waters on June 20 and the elite force's seizure of the 30,000-tonne UK-flagged Stena Impero tanker on July 19.

The enemies are today afraid of going to war with Iran and have been, instead, waging economic terrorism against the nation, said Baqeri, making a reference to the US’s campaign of pressure and sanctions.

Iran has offered to enter a non-aggression pact with its neighbors to help ease tensions in the region.

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran has said he will propose a “Hormuz Peace Initiative,” which calls for creating security in the Persian Gulf in cooperation with others, during his address to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.

The military chief further hailed Iran’s Sacred Defense during the eight-year war imposed by the ex-Iraqi regime on the Islamic Republic in 1980s, saying it serves as “a role model” for the resistance front in the region.

The Iraqi and Syrian nations have successfully stood against terrorism, while the Yemenis have managed to manufacture advanced weapons capable of shooting down intruding aircraft, he pointed out.

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