KUWAIT CITY (Dispatches): Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif assured Persian Gulf Arab states Sunday his country’s nuclear deal with the West is in their interest and also announced plans to visit Saudi Arabia.
“The solution to this issue serves the interests of all countries in the region. It is not at the expense of any state in the region,” Zarif said at a joint news conference after meeting Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah.
“Be assured that the nuclear deal is in favor of the stability and security of the region,” Zarif said on what was his first official visit to a Persian Gulf Arab nation.
The Islamic Republic last Sunday struck a landmark deal in Geneva with Western powers on Iran’s nuclear program. The Geneva deal was welcomed by the Persian Gulf Arab states.
Zarif met with Kuwait’s ruler and conveyed a message from President Hassan Rouhani on ways to improve relations between the two countries during his meeting in Kuwait with emir Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, according to a report carried by the official Kuwait News Agency.
Zarif told reporters in Kuwait the nuclear deal illustrates Iran’s good intentions and said the world is witnessing an easing of the mistrust between Iran and the West.
After his election, President Rouhani said he hoped to improve relations with neighboring countries, especially Persian Gulf states.
Zarif said in Kuwait City that Iran was looking to open a new page in relations with the Gulf.
He is also visiting Oman during his current tour and confirmed plans to visit regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia although no date has yet been set.
“We look at Saudi Arabia as an important and influential country in the region and we are working to strengthen cooperation with it for the benefit of the region,” he said.
He also praised the outcome of a visit last week by the UAE foreign minister, saying Tehran would continue to hold discussions with UAE about a misunderstanding over Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf.
UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed called for a partnership with Iran last week when he became the first Persian Gulf Arab official to visit Tehran since the agreement was signed.
Zarif said the Geneva deal does not satisfy all of Iran’s demands or “the goals of the other party, but it is important to implement it”.
“We will implement the deal and are convinced that implementing it will build the trust,” he said.
Zarif said the “political option” is the only solution to the Syrian conflict and warned that the war could cause the spread of extremism and sectarianism in the region.
“We believe that Syria’s future should be determined by the Syrian people only through ballot boxes,” he said.
“There is no solution to the Syrian crisis except by a political settlement. The military solution is an illusion.”
Iran will attend the Geneva 2 peace conference on Syria “if invited” but will not accept preconditions, Zarif added.
Oman maintains good relations with Tehran, and Sultan Qaboos was the first guest of President Rouhani following his inauguration on August 3.
Omani Foreign Minister Yousuf Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah said reports about Oman’s role in the nuclear deal between Tehran and the P5+1 group of states in Geneva last month was exaggerated.
Commenting on the reaction within the Persian Gulf to the deal, the Omani foreign minister said: “The (Persian) Gulf States have a strategic interest in stability, and this is clear to us. The Iranians are our neighbors, and it is clear that everyone wants a resolution to the problems of the Middle East and this could be the beginning of steps towards peaceful solutions in the region.”
“We have had enough of wars and hostilities, and we must provide the future generations with an atmosphere of regional stability,” he added.