Zarif: US Reluctant to Defeat ISIL to Save Allies’ Interests
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Jawad Zarif said the US government is hesitating to defeat the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) takfiri group because that contradicts to the interests of its regional allies.
In a meeting in New York organized by University of Denver’s International Studies Center prior to his departure to Tehran, the Iranian diplomat referred to the outcome of the nuclear agreement saying it shall be a win-win or lose-lose situation rather than one side losing and the other winning.
Calling for a change in the manner of encountering regional crises, Zarif said, ‘The assumption that there would be a single winner in dealing with region’s unrests has to be put aside.’
‘Some regional countries may have such an assumption, but it is a myopic belief that will end up with everyone’s failure.’
Warning that extremism in the Middle East will not be limited to the geographical borders of Syria or Iraq and that it is a common threat to the world, Zarif said, ‘In countering extremism, violence, and terrorism, one has to take into account every aspect and to deal with the root causes.’
Referring to the support to terrorist takfiri groups by some regional states, Zarif said, ‘As long as certain countries and sections of their population support any group out of the conception that it can weaken Iran, they will fail in seriously dealing with the threat.’
He said Iran is ready to cooperate with the regional countries so long as they will become aware of the threats posed by ISIL and can encounter its security challenges.
Also referring to the fact that ISIL terrorists who commit crimes such as beheading their captives are speaking in fluent English and French, he said, ‘Most of the terrorists are young people who were brought up in western countries and later turned to terrorists.’
The Iranian top diplomat raised questions on the source of financial support to ISIL and asked, ‘Who is buying oil from this group or is providing financial funds and equipment to it?’
‘When Iran was under sanctions and if it sold one barrel of oil beyond the limit set for it, it was considered a red line and all buyers and banks that provided transaction facilities were fined. Now, one can ask if such measures were applicable in the case of Iran, how come they cannot be employed to control the areas under ISIL control.’
On the crisis in Syria, Zarif called for a comprehensive solution so that political reform and end of clashes can be achieved.
He further warned that the fight against ISIL will not terminate in a near future and said a political process should start in line with efforts to end the violence.
‘Last year,’ he added, ‘when the US launched air raids on Syria without permission of the government and people of Syria, no one was surprised rather more serious measures were suggested.’
He said Russia’s intervention in Syria should not be an issue either, because it is one of UN Security Council members and is entitled to the same rights and responsibilities that the US enjoys.
‘The only difference is that Russians embarked on the attacks based on the request of the government of Syria,’ he said.