0247 GMT January 23, 2021
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday blasted “some regional actors” for using “disparities” in the Middle East to gain “hegemony”.
“Some regional actors consider disparities as an opportunity to achieve regional hegemony,” Zarif told the Doha Forum, in an apparent rebuke to Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies.
“The Saudi blockade against Qatar and the war in Yemen are, but examples of catastrophic miscalculations to use misperceived opportunities to achieve regional hegemony,” he said.
Zarif said West Asia is in “severe turmoil” due to “multiple and chronic crises”, the root cause of which “lies in a cognitive disorder”.
The top diplomat also took a jab at “some global actors” for looking at “these disparities and the unending rivalries in the region as an opportunity” to expand military presence and to sell more weapons.
He said the US took the biggest advantage by selling most of its lethal weapons.
Zarif said such “outside presence” has enhanced the security of the region.
He noted that “everything can be bought” except for regional security and stability.
Zarif further called for a “fundamental paradigm shift” in the region, based on a “cognitive readjustment and recognition… a regional security and cooperation arrangement under the UN umbrella.”
He also pointed to a recent peace initiative by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, saying the Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE) indicated Iran’s “longstanding commitment to an inclusive and comprehensive regional framework for constructive engagement.”
“HOPE is based on the recognition of the responsibility of every state in the region to ensure peace, stability and prosperity in our neighborhood and benefit from it. It is based on the assumption that the region and the world have a common and vital interest in maintaining freedom of navigation and energy security FOR ALL.”
Zarif said Iran seeks “dialogue and mutual respect, equal footing, respect for each other’s sovereignty, rejection of the threat or use of force, and non-aggression and non-intervention in internal or external affairs of each other” in order to ease tensions.
He noted that all regional states need to seize the opportunity “to finally and decisively change course, for the betterment of not just our own lives but also those of future generations.”