TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran should be invited to the Geneva II talks on Syria and is willing to help with implementation of the agreement to rid Syria of chemical weapons.
Zarif, in an interview with Al-Monitor on Tuesday, explained how Iran’s relationship with Russia has worked in Syria.
“You have seen some positive outcomes of this regional cooperation in Syria,” Zarif said. “We have worked closely with Russia and worked with the Syrians in order to ensure that we avert a war, because we knew that war would be a catastrophe.”
“It was averted through a concerted effort on the part of a number of players, including Iran and Russia, and the United States, and a good number of other players, because there were forces that were pushing for war,” he said.
Zarif said that Iran supported the diplomatic process leading to the US-Russia framework on Syria’s chemical weapons.
“We certainly wanted the issue of chemical weapons addressed,” he said. “We had a lot of diplomatic contacts. … We were in Moscow when the agreement was reached at the level of deputy foreign minister.”
“To that extent we were a party,” he said, “but obviously this was a Russian-American agreement and we helped along as we could.”
Zarif said that Iran is ready to help with the implementation of the chemical weapons agreement.
“We have to move now to the implementation of the Syrian chemical weapons convention,” he said. “It’s going to be tough, we will be prepared to help — in order to make sure that is implemented correctly and speedily — in whatever advice that we can provide as a country that has gone through it and destroyed its chemical weapons facilities under the supervision of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”
“We hope that non-state actors will also be disarmed in the context of Syria, because we know that there are chemical weapons in the hands of non-state actors,” he said, adding, “We want to make sure Syria will not become the next base of extremism.”
Zarif said one of the positive outcomes of the agreement on Syria’s chemical weapons has been a jump-start for a diplomatic process.
“Iran is prepared to participate in Geneva II,” he said, but only if asked.
“We are not begging to be invited,” he said. ‘If they ask us to go, we will go, without any conditions, and we do not accept any conditions.”
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