Aug 28, 2019, 5:29 PM
Journalist ID: 2078
News Code: 83456043
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Zarif's regional tour, a step towards de-escalation

Tehran, Aug 28, IRNA - Former Iranian diplomat to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Mohammad Shariati Dahaghan, believes Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's recent tour to the regional countries of Qatar and Kuwait indicates Iran's wise and positive approach towards regional issues.

Dahaghan, who's also an expert in Arab affairs, says President Hassan Rouhani's policy that is being implemented by Zarif is based on the fact that Arab countries should not be treated as part of a unified and consistent whole.

"Currently, despite the fact that Kuwait has no ambassador in Tehran due to a parliamentary resolution, it has shown rather moderate policies regarding the regional issues and Zarif's trip to the Arab country also indicates such a policy", he said.

The expert in Arab affairs also described the Iranian foreign minister's trip to Qatar as very positive and said that despite the presence of a US military base in Qatar, Doha has been very successful in preserving the balance in its bilateral relations with Tehran.

Dahaghan also pointed to Oman and said Muscat has always played a strategic role in the regional stability and balance.

The former Iranian diplomat said Iran sees the Arab countries as independent entities with various potentials for cooperation and that it's a logical approach which should be pursued and continued.

He also described Iran's initiative to conclude a non-aggression pact with Persian Gulf Arab states an appropriate and effective policy. On May 26, in a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart in Baghdad, Zarif confirmed that Iran had proposed the signing of a non-aggression pact with all the Persian Gulf littoral states.

In recent visits to Kuwait and Qatar, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif discussed with regional leaders issues ranging from US plans for an international coalition in the Persian Gulf to the crisis in Yemen and dialogue with Saudi Arabia.

Zarif arrived in Qatar on August 11 and met with officials from that country. He later took to Twitter to describe his one-day visit to Doha as very fruitful. His trip came as President Hassan Rouhani had a telephone conversation with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, also on August 11.

Just days later, on August 17, Zarif traveled to Kuwait, a country which, unlike Qatar, has good relations with Iran’s main regional rival, Saudi Arabia.

While in Kuwait, Zarif also presented Iran's proposal for a regional dialogue forum and non-aggression pact. Tehran hopes Kuwait will convey the message to Saudi Arabia.

Iran’s active regional diplomacy, however, is not limited to just this. While Zarif engaged in talks with Kuwaiti officials, a trilateral meeting was also being held in Tehran between the Iranians, representatives from the Yemeni Houthi Movement and ambassadors of four European countries; Germany, France, Britain and Italy, on the latest developments in war-torn Yemen.

Dahaghan noted that any negotiations or de-escalation of tensions between Iran and the Arab world depends on regional developments. He, however, said regional dialogue is possible and probable.

"Currently, developments regarding the Yemen crisis, Iran-US future relations, and even the Syrian crisis can all be very effective in the de-escalation process", said Dahaghan.

However, despite Iran’s efforts, there still seems to be no ray of hope for Saudi flexibility. Riyadh, despite Tehran’s repeated messages, is still not in favor of talks with Iran.

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