Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says if regional countries want a strong region, they must substitute dialog for war as well as cooperation for arms race.
Zarif made the remarks while addressing a gathering of representatives from hundreds of Iranian and Iraqi companies in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad on Monday.
“In a secure and powerful region, dialog takes the place of war, and cooperation replaces arms race while brotherly relations replace trust in foreigners,” Iran’s top diplomat said.
Zarif noted that in a strong region, all countries can trust one another and make a better future for themselves, adding, “In this case, bilateral and multilateral relations among countries in this region would be stronger than their relations with other countries.”
The Iranian foreign minister stated that in order to achieve this goal, the Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes the expansion of cooperation with all regional countries and knows no limit for the development of relations and cooperation with Iraq.
“The blood of Iranian and Iraqi youths has been spilled in the fight against terrorism and profound ties between the two nations are such that no power is able to draw a wedge between them,” Zarif said.
The trade meeting between the economic agents of the two countries’ private sectors kicked off on Monday in the presence of the Iranian foreign minister and his accompanying delegation, Iran’s Ambassador to Baghdad Iraj Masjedi and six Iraqi ministers.
The meeting was held with the purpose of discussing opportunities for investment in Iraq, the participation of Iran’s private sector in the reconstruction of Iraq after the defeat of Daesh terrorists and enhancement of trade cooperation.
Zarif meets with Iraqi lawmakers in Baghdad
In a meeting with a number of Iraqi lawmakers earlier in the day, Zarif said Baghdad has turned into a key venue in the region for meetings among various political and economic delegations.
He expressed the Islamic Republic’s support for Iraq’s stance on regional developments.
“Those who spent seven trillion dollars in the region did not spend it for regional security and stability, but did that to meet their own interests,” the Iranian foreign minister said.
Heading a high-ranking politico-economic delegation, Zarif arrived in Baghdad on Sunday on a four-day visit.
Speaking to reporters upon his arrival in Baghdad, Zarif commended Iraq’s positive stance on the promotion of ties with Iran, saying the two countries have managed to foil US bids to sabotage mutual relations.
The Iranian foreign minister says Iran and Iraq managed to foil US bids to sabotage mutual relations.
“After [achieving] victory against Daesh, some countries, including the US, have created certain problems in the way of the two countries’ cooperation, but fortunately, they were defused thanks to the wisdom of the two countries’ officials,” he said.
As with my past visits, I’ve been honored to be able to make use of opportunity to engage with representatives of the many diverse actors in the rich mosaic of #Iraq; from Christians, Yezidis, Sabaeans, Turkmen, and Feyli Kurds to the Sunni Endowment.
The visit comes a few days after the Iranian foreign minister traveled to India, where he exchanged views with the country’s officials on financial and banking cooperation, energy and transit.
Iraq’s president calls for stronger ties with Iran
Later on Monday, Zarif met with Iraq’s President Barham Salih at the presidential palace in Baghdad.
During the meeting, the two sides discussed Iran-Iraq relations as well as major developments in the world and the region.
Salih emphasized the importance of bolstering his country’s relations with Iran, noting that this issue will not only serve the two nation’s interests, but also benefit security and stability of the entire region.
“The existing difficult conditions in the region call on us to join hands and restore security to the region through inclusive and constructive dialog with all involved parties,” the Iraqi president said.
The Iranian foreign minister, for his part, underlined Tehran’s willingness to expand bilateral relations with Iraq in all fields.
“In the process of reconstructing Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to support the Iraqi government and nation in all areas of interest,” Zarif noted.