Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called on the neighboring countries to the Islamic Republic to hold talks about regional developments without foreign interference.
In a post on his Twitter account on Tuesday, Zarif invited the neighboring states to exclude the United States and the three European signatories to the nuclear deal of 2015 – Britain, France and Germany – from regional talks as the very same countries are the cause of the problems.
“There won’t be ANY talks about OUR region with them [US/E3] as they’re the problem themselves,” he said.
Why ask US/E3 for inclusion in talks with Iran when:
a) There won’t be ANY talks about OUR region with them as they’re the problem themselves
b) We can speak directly about our region without outside meddling.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) December 8, 2020
The top Iranian diplomat also emphasized that countries in the region “can speak directly without outside meddling.”
Zarif once again stressed the importance of implementing Tehran’s peace initiative to promote security in the Persian Gulf, the Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE), which he said “is still on the table.”
Addressing a speech at the UN General Assembly meeting in September 2019, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani presented the HOPE initiative and invited all regional countries to participate in it.
Zarif’s remarks came shortly after he said in an Arabic tweet that Iran would not engage in talks with the Western countries on the region due to their interventionist approach.
He said it seems that some of Iran’s neighbors have asked the West that they also be part of any negotiations with Tehran. “We will not negotiate with the West over the region. The main problem is their intervention.”
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud has said the Persian Gulf countries must be “consulted” before the United States revives a nuclear deal with Iran.
“Primarily what we expect is that we are fully consulted, that we and our other regional friends are fully consulted in what goes on vis-à-vis the negotiations with Iran,” he told AFP on the sidelines of a security conference in Bahrain’s Manama on Saturday.
The top Saudi diplomat also said such consultation would be the only path towards a “sustainable” agreement.
The nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed between Iran and six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China — and was ratified in the form of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
However, Washington under President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out in May 2018 and reinstated the anti-Iran sanctions that had been lifted under the deal.
Saudi Arabia, which enjoyed cozy relations with the Trump administration, supported Washington’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and its “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic.
However, Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, has hinted at returning to the nuclear deal. He was vice president when it came into force.
The prospect of the US rejoining the JCPOA has been a matter of concern for Saudi Arabia amid speculations that the Biden administration may reassess Washington’s ties with Riyadh.
Biden has vowed to end support for the Yemen war, penalize human rights violations and treat Saudi Arabia like “the pariah that they are.”