BAGHDAD – Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday his country was willing to make a “non-aggression agreement” with the Arab countries amid tensions in the Persian Gulf region and mounting pressure from the United States against the regime in Tehran.
“Iran presented several proposals to dialogue and cooperate with the countries of the region, including a non-aggression pact with the neighboring countries in the Persian Gulf. This proposal is still on the table,” Zarif said during at a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, in Baghdad.
Zarif said he had not yet received any response to the proposal but insisted that Iran wanted to maintain “good and balanced” relations with the Gulf Arab countries, some of which are closely allied to the US.
The Iranian foreign minister lashed out against the economic sanctions imposed by Washington, insisting they violated United Nations Security Council resolutions and were being used to force European nations to abandon the historic 2015 nuclear deal.
US President Donald Trump has already withdrawn from the deal.
“Iran will repel any effort to launch a war against the country, whether economic or military,” Zarif added.
Alhakim expressed Iraq’s support for Tehran in the face of the US sanctions.
“We say clearly and expressly that we are against unilateral measures by the US and we do not accept them,” he said.
The minister said that Iraq was willing to mediate between Washington and Tehran should both parties request it.
“We are with neighboring Iran in their stance on US measures, and we will be an intermediary between the two sides in case such a matter is proposed,” the Iraqi minister said.
Last Tuesday, the Iraqi prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, said that he would send two delegations to the US and Iran in a bid to ease rising tensions in the Gulf.
The head of Iranian diplomacy arrived in Baghdad on Saturday for an official visit in which he was received by the country’s president, Barham Saleh, and the prime minister.
On Friday, Trump announced he would deploy an additional 1,500 US soldiers to the Middle East to protect US interests in the region. The move was sure to aggravate tensions with Iran.
The tension between the US and Iran has skyrocketed since April when Washington announced the end of exemptions for the purchase of Iranian oil which it had formerly included in the sanctions Trump’s Administration slapped on Tehran.