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Iran, Turkey Common Interests Strengthen Regional Peace, Stability

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says cooperation between Iran and Turkey will play a positive role in the settlement of regional issues, urging the two countries to focus their efforts on the fight against terrorism.

“Iran and Turkey have common objectives and interests and must strengthen the foundations for peace and stability in the region through improving bilateral cooperation and focusing on the fight against terrorism as a common enemy,” Rouhani said.

He stressed the importance of fighting terrorism as a common threat to all nations and said foreign countries have never sought to solve regional problems and only seek to meet their own interests.

“We believe that regional problems should be settled by regional countries and nations and Iran-Turkey cooperation will undoubtedly play a constructive role in establishing sustainable peace in the region,” the Iranian president pointed out.

He pointed to numerous commonalities between the two neighboring countries and said Tehran and Ankara can take “constructive and effective” steps to boost unity in the Muslim world.

Rouhani said Iran and Turkey both agree that the future of every country should be decided by its own people, territorial integrity of countries should be respected, war should be stopped and aid should be provided to refugees.

He noted that regional problems have failed to affect Tehran-Ankara relations and added that no obstacle can hinder the expansion of mutual ties in line with common interests.

The Iranian president said Tehran and Ankara enjoy great potential to expand ties in different sectors including transportation, energy, trade, joint investment, tourism, science and technology and expressed the country’s readiness to bolster cooperation with Turkey.

Iran’s President also said the Iranian nation once again amazed the world by their recent massive electoral participation.

On the election day, the Iranians once again “showed their trust in their establishment, their leadership, and their administration and went to the polls and once again amazed the world,” President Rouhani said.

Rouhani hailed the participation as “historic glory.”

The government made efforts to hold “legal, free and fair” elections, and did its utmost to “return hope to the society,” he noted.

He said whatever action was taken concerning the elections, including the rejection of some of the hopefuls’ eligibility to run in the polls, “was within framework of the law and this means political maturity.”

“Among all the factions, parties, and groupings, it was mostly moderates who were chosen and this means that our people have opted for moderation,” the Iranian president said of the results of the elections.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also said Saudi Arabia seeks to instigate tensions and insecurity in the Middle East.

“Some countries in our region, particularly the Saudi government have pursued wrong policies, seeking to create tensions and insecurity in the entire region,” Zarif said.

He added that such policies will only please the Israeli regime while arise hatred of all freedom-seeking countries in the Arab world.

The Iranian minister slammed the recent move by the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council to designate Lebanon’s resistance movement, Hezbollah, as a terrorist organization.

“Hezbollah is the only organization that has defended Lebanon’s territorial integrity against the Zionist regime’s aggression,” Zarif said.

He emphasized that the six-nation bloc’s move demonstrates the negative role of its members in the region and the international community.

The Iranian minister once again reiterated the need for negotiations and cooperation among neighbors and said, “We have repeatedly called on the neighboring countries to turn to dialog, positive interaction, good neighborliness and avoidance of measures that can only fuel violence and tension in the region.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister has also called on Muslims across the globe to strengthen their unity against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

“We as Muslims must put aside our differences and within an organized framework take practical measures to [help] put an end to all signs of occupation,” Zarif said.

The top diplomat lashed out at Israel for its “expansionist plans” to change the demographic makeup of al-Quds (Jerusalem) and its Judaization.

As a step toward the full liberation of Palestine, Zarif said, Muslim countries need to “prevent the illegal attempts by Israeli aggressors to change the status quo of the occupied al-Quds.”

He said “Israel’s continued and brutal occupation” of Palestinian territories is a breach of “the basic principles of international law.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif criticized the UN Security Council (UNSC) for failing to take action over Israeli “threat against global peace and security.”

Zarif also called on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)’s member states to remain committed to the Palestinian cause.

The Iranian foreign minister said that a large number of governmental and non-governmental players around the world have distanced themselves from Israel because of its policies.

He expressed the Islamic Republic’s fortitude in supporting the Palestinians in their battle against Israel.

Iran's Foreign Minister also said fight against terrorism requires a multifaceted strategy.

“We need a multifaceted strategy. It may need a military dimension because now Daesh and [the al-Qaeda-linked] al-Nusra Front have become a military threat,” Zarif said.

“But at the same time, it needs an economic dimension because it’s unemployment, it’s deprivation that provides recruits for these people in the regions they come from,” he added.

He emphasized that terrorism poses a threat to all countries in the world and said some governments in the Middle East region still think that their support for Daesh terrorist group would serve their interests.

“Terrorism is threatening the US, Europe and other countries," he said, noting that Syria and Saudi Arabia are being threatened alike.

*Photo Credit: ISNA

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