HOPE initiative aimed at reducing regional tensions: Senior diplomat

Press TV – Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi says Tehran’s proposed plan for ensuring security in the Persian Gulf aims to reduce tensions in the strategic region.

Araqchi said in a meeting with visiting Kuwaiti Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah on Thursday that a constructive approach to the initiative — known as Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE) — is a step toward defusing regional tensions, and reaffirmed Iran’s readiness to find a practical mechanism along with all countries in the region to implement the plan.

“Iran believes in a collective collaboration among regional states for maintaining security, and regards dialogue as the sole solution to attaining such a goal and tackling hardships,” the senior diplomat said.

Speaking to reporters in late September before setting off to take part in the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the HOPE initiative was aimed at establishing long-term peace in the Persian Gulf, something he said could not be achieved as long as outsiders were present.

“This plan is about collective work within the Persian Gulf region and we want all countries of the region to partake in it,” Rouhani said. “Of course, the plan that will be laid out at the United Nations won’t be just about security, but rather economy and other issues, all in line with security matters,” he added.

Expounding on the objectives and principles of the HOPE initiative as presented by Rouhani in his UN speech, Araqchi said, “The plan provides an appropriate framework for all regional states [in their efforts] to consolidate peace and stability and promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation.”

He noted that if the regional countries took a constructive approach to the HOPE initiative, it would be a step toward reduction of the existing tensions in the region, declaring Iran’s readiness to find mechanisms to put his initiative in gears in cooperation with all regional countries.

Al-Jarallah, for his part, described negotiations as the only way possible to resolve regional crises and emphasized the need for expanding bilateral ties between Iran and Kuwait.

Iran’s initiative comes as the US has been trying to persuade its allies into a maritime coalition purportedly seeking to boost security in the Persian Gulf, after it blamed Tehran for two separate attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in May and June, without providing any credible evidence to back up the allegation, which Iran has categorically rejected.

Tehran has repeatedly said outsiders not only cannot safeguard the region, but will fuel tensions there. Iran believes it is the countries of the very region which can ensure regional peace.

Rouhani said in October that measures taken by some extra-regional countries, especially the United States, in the Persian Gulf region only serve to render the region’s problems more complicated and make it appear less secure in the eyes of the world.