Zarif rebukes 'vicious cycle' of wars in ME, blames foreign funding

New York, Sept 24, IRNA- Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed indignation at the vicious cycle of wars and invasions in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, blaming foreign funding for the conflicts in the region.

“Why do we have this vicious cycle? They first pay Saddam to attack us, then Saddam attacks them, they pay the United States to attack Saddam. Then, the US installs a new government in Iraq. They pay somebody else to undermine that government in Iraq,” said Iran’s FM Zarif on Monday, addressing a group of journalists in New York. 

“This is the concept of purchasing security,” added the Iranian foreign minister, pointing finger at Persian Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia that have bought billions of dollars worth of military equipment from the US and other countries. 

Zarif said that such a trend is “source of tension in the region”, stressing that the US is being used by the Saudis to “do their work”.

“This is the new concept of employed mercenaries. You pay somebody to do your work,” Zarif noted.  

He reiterated that US President Donald Trump has “shown prudence not doing that yet”, noting that Trump has widely tried to refrain from getting involved in what Riyadh has been planning for the region.  

The Iranian top diplomat said that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will introduce the idea of Hormuz Peace Initiative, also known as HOPE and Coalition for HOPE. 

Zarif stressed that the Initiative has been named after the strategic waterway in the Persian Gulf in a bid to avoid the Arabs’ hustle over the word Persian Gulf. “We decided to use the term that is common between us, Hormuz,” he added. 

He said that the Initiative focuses on two main concepts of “relying on your own people and working with your neighbours”, urging the Persian Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to go through “paradigm shift”.

He said that Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, the eight littoral states of the Persian Gulf, will be the key participants of the Coalition for HOPE.  

The Iranian top diplomat said that the Initiative will be based on two pillars of “non-aggression and non-intervention”. 

Zarif, who is in New York, stated that Iran has factual complaints about Saudi Arabia paying for “every single Iranian separatist group”. “Every single Iranian separatist group is on the Saudi payroll. How do you think that the MEK pay John Bolton 40,000 dollars … or some other amounts for Rudy Giuliani.” 

“We know when the Iranian separatist groups meet Saudi consul general in Erbil. We know what time they met. We have very good intelligence,” the Iranian foreign minister said. 

He declared that Iran is still ready to help Saudi Arabia to end the war in Yemen.

“In April 2015, we offered a four-point plan to end the war in Yemen. Ask John Kerry. Don’t ask me. They refused,” referring to the Saudi and Emirati officials. 

“They turned down our offer of mediation for a ceasefire, humanitarian assistance, intra-Yemeni dialogue and setting up an inclusive government,” added Zarif.  

Now, 4 and a half years later, they still think that the Yemenis are a bunch of defenseless people that are too weak to carry out attacks such as the one that targeted Saudi oil facilities, Zarif added. 

“By the same token, it’s too sophisticated to be carried out by Iran because nobody helps us either,” Zarif said, urging the Saudis to look somewhere else for their “conspiracy theories”. 

Saudi oil facilities were hit by drone missiles several weeks ago in an attack that the Yemen’s Houthi group claimed responsibility for. However, Riyadh and the US are accusing Iran of launching the attack. 

“The attack is with serious precision. High precision, low impact. That is, in the same refinery, there were installations that couldn’t be hit if they wanted, that could’ve taken a year for Saudi Arabia to repair it, So, why did they hit the lowest impact places with such high precision? Why didn’t they hit a place with more impact. “Israel, the US are more probable culprits. The US has more markets, more presence and more reasons to do so,” Zarif said.  

“If Iran were not be behind the attack, nothing would’ve been left of it,” he added. 

The Yemenis have every reason to retaliate. A refinery was hit in self-defense. No one was killed, an acceptable act of war. At least, no one was killed, according to the Iranian foreign minister.  


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