Kerry asks for Iran’s help in ending crises in Yemen, Syria

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – US Secretary of State John Kerry asked Iran to help end the bloody conflicts in Syria and Yemen, while urging Tehran to make peace with its Arab neighbors.

At a press conference in Bahrain on Thursday, Kerry urged Tehran to “help us end the war in Yemen… help us end the war in Syria, not intensify, and help us to be able to change the dynamics of this region.”

He added that Iran should “prove to the world that it wants to be a constructive member of the international community and contribute to peace and stability,” according to AFP.

Kerry also praised Tehran’s participation in the international effort to mediate the end to the Syrian civil war, which resulted in February’s ceasefire.

“Our hope is that the aspirations expressed by some people in Iran to be able to build a better relationship in the region and through the world is in fact the direction that Iran would like to go in,” Kerry said. “Clearly there is a difference of opinion within Iran itself and they’re going to have to decide.”

Kerry’s overtures to Iran have drawn criticism from hard-liners in Washington, with some Republican lawmakers suggesting his personal friendship with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif could be leading the State Department to exercise undue “flexibility” in implementing a nuclear deal Iran and world powers implemented in mid-January.

Kerry is in Bahrain for a meeting with foreign ministers of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC), which consists of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The group is scheduled to hold a summit on April 21 in Saudi Arabia, with US President Barack Obama in attendance.

The US is pushing for greater PGCC involvement in the struggle against Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group in Iraq and Syria. However, Washington’s Persian Gulf Arab allies claim to be worried about what they see as Iranian encroachment, blaming Tehran for backing the Syrian government, the Lebanese Resistance Movement Hezbollah, and the Houthi Ansarullah Movement in Yemen.

Certain members of the PGCC, Saudi Arabia in particular, have backed a multitude of rebel groups, including notorious terrorists, in Syria since 2011. Some of the rebel groups have received money and weapons from the CIA and the Pentagon as well.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies have been launching deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to the fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

More than 8000 Yemenis, including many women and children, have died in the Saudi-led aggression so far. The bloody conflict has devastated the country, but the coalition forces have been fought to a stalemate despite having superior numbers, weaponry, and air power.

By Tasnim News Agency