Armaments spiral must end in Middle East: Zarif

Press TV- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has emphasized the need for setting up a security forum to promote dialogue among the Persian Gulf states, urging certain regional countries to end their arms race.

Addressing a meeting of the European Council on Foreign Relations in the German capital Berlin on Monday, Zarif said the arms race in the region had influenced relations between some Western countries and regional states.

“When foreign policy becomes a commodity, then purchasing military equipment becomes your yardstick for measuring who is a terrorist or who isn’t a terrorist,” the Iranian minister was quoted by Reuters as saying.

“This reinforces a cognitive disorder in our region that security can be purchased from outside, that security can be purchased by trying to buy more military equipment,” he added.

“What is needed in our region is a regional dialogue forum,” the top Iranian diplomat pointed out.

He further called on European countries to use their influence to defuse tensions in the Persian Gulf after Saudi Arabia and its allies severed relations with Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates cut ties with Qatar on June 5, officially accusing Doha of supporting “terrorism” and destabilizing the region. Qatar, however, has slammed the measures as unjustified, saying they were based on false claims and assumptions.

In their apparent bid to secure US support and that of Israel, Riyadh, Manama, Cairo and Abu Dhabi suspended all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, expelled its diplomats and ordered Qatari citizens to leave their countries.

To further pressure Qatar, Saudi Arabia has totally closed its land border with its neighbor, through which much of Qatar’s food supply crossed.

The Iranian foreign minister pointed to the countries who claimed that Iran and Qatar were supporting terrorism, saying they were trying to shun responsibility for their own failures in addressing the demands of their own people.

“One day it’s Iran, today it’s Qatar,” Zarif said, adding, “It’s an attempt to evade responsibility, escape accountability for this very fundamental … failure of the state system to address, to respond to the demands of its population.”

Iran and Saudi Arabia have long been at loggerheads over regional issues.

In a telephone conversation with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran’s policy was based on strengthening relations with Doha, stressing that “brotherly and friendly” mutual ties would be beneficial to regional nations.

Rouhani added that Iran sought continued cooperation with Qatar and stressed the importance of making use of the enormous bilateral capacities to further strengthen relations.

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