He made the remarks in an address to the 3rd Indian-Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Blue Economy Ministerial Conference in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, on Thursday.
Zarif said blue economy will flourish only when maritime security is ensured, stressing that such stability and safety are only achievable through collective cooperation among the very countries of the region and “cannot be bought from outside.”
Iran stands fully ready for such joint efforts, the Iranian top diplomat further stressed.
Relying on outsiders for security will only lead to a rise in the number of military bases in the region, he added.
Zarif drew attention to the challenges facing the Indian Ocean littoral states, including human trafficking, drug smuggling, unlawful fishing, and pollution.
“To us, increasing unilateralism and extremism as well as gunboat diplomacy constitute a serious obstacle to the rule of law,” Zarif said, emphasizing that any illegal measure targeting civilians will lead to “economic terrorism,” which is one of the main challenges facing the region and the entire world community.
The IORA conference is titled “Promoting Sustainable Blue Economy — making the best use of opportunities from the Indian Ocean.”
It is expected to adopt the Dhaka Declaration and other outcome documents aimed to illustrate the commitment of IORA member states to further strengthen and deepen cooperation on blue economy priority areas in the years ahead.
IORA has 22 member states, including Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and the UAE.