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Speech by Dr. S.Abbas Araghchi, Deputy Foreign Minister of Islamic Republic of Iran at the Second Tehran Dialouge Forum

Speech by Dr. S.Abbas Araghchi, Deputy Foreign Minister of Islamic Republic of Iran at the Second Tehran Dialouge Forum, ۱۶ March ۲۰۲۱
March 2021

 in the name of God            

 

             I will divide my discussion into three parts. In the first part, I will paint a picture of the West Asia today and explain why West Asia is a special region. In the second part, I will present the basic principles and necessities for changing the situation in West Asia, and in the last part, I will introduce solutions for interaction and cooperation in this region.

  

A: Characteristics of the West Asia

 

  1. The West Asia is a complex region, with intertwined and diverse sub-regions. The occurrence of four large-scale wars between the Arabs and the Israeli regime, three great wars in the Persian Gulf, one war in Afghanistan, three civil wars, and finally the emergence and growth of sophisticated terrorist groups are the factors that have made this region a dangerous region.

 

  1. The West Asia suffers from a paradoxical situation: It is the most inflamed region, but it is also the most intertwined region in the world. This region has deep cultural and religious commonalities that unite nations, so that we can consider the people of West Asia as members of the same family.

 

  1. In West Asia, issues have found international nature. Thus, the problems that arise in this region, even if they take place within the borders of one country, are often considered as multidimensional and international issues. (Examples: Yemeni civil war, Syrian crisis, Libyan civil war and the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan).

 

  1. Problems in West Asia have sequences and synergies that follow one another, sometimes surpassing one another, without any of them being completely resolved. Today, the four main issues of Palestine and the Zionist regime, Iran and the Persian Gulf countries, Afghanistan and the internal peace process, and finally terrorism, have turned the situation in West Asia into a problematic region.

 

  1. The West Asian region is a region of failed or unfinished solutions. Despite the different ideas, a common understanding of the problems has not been formed so far, and consequently no idea has led to a joint cooperation in the region. Apart from time to time initiatives, there is no meaningful and comprehensive channel for dialogue and cooperation, and there is little real diplomacy other than verbal confrontation. We are now witnessing that many issues and problems in the West Asia have been left without finding a suitable solution.

 

 B: Necessities

 

  1. Shared understanding: Countries in the region must reach a common understanding of mutual interests, opportunities, threats and intentions. This requires continuous channels of dialogue to overcome fundamental suspicions. Iran's foreign policy seeks to create a model for dialogue amongst regional actors in the context of regional turmoil. Iran's proposal to establish a "Regional Dialogue Forum" could be a rational option based on the common interests of the region.

 

  1. Trust Building: The missing link in West Asia and its sub-regions is confidence, and what is necessary is confidence building. Moving in this direction requires a common sense of need. The West Asian region, based on its resources, history, geopolitical position and manpower, deserves a different and privileged position in the international system. The nations of the region expect to reach their proper position in terms of economy, welfare, security and contribution to human civilization. This need is a real and tangible thing for all countries in the region.

 

  1. Avoiding Balancing: The countries of the region should not act as the balancer of each other, but should use their capabilities and resources in a synergistic way to achieve the common good of the region. The performance of regional powers should not be in the opposite direction of each other. For example, while a regional power such as Iran is fighting to the best of its ability to eliminate terrorist groups such as ISIS, other regional powers should not financially and militarily support these groups.

 

  1. Forming coalitions for the region, not against the region: Any coalition with the presence of the countries of the region should be in the interests of the region and not against countries from the region. The artificial and unstable coalitions that we are witnessing today are doomed to failure and contrary to the direction of building trust and cooperation. Coalitions will be successful if they are based on regional commonalities and the real needs of the region, not on external impositions.

 

 C: Solutions

 

             No solution can respond to the existing realities in the West Asian crisis as much as regional strategic partnership. The purpose of regional strategic partnership is to create comprehensive arrangements that include the interests of all countries in the region and to define the best relations between its members, far from creating tension and crisis. This strategy is based on the following three elements:

 

  1. Culture: The factor of cultural commonalities is the most important unifying factor in West Asia, and relying on this factor will cause the interests of all nations in the region and will create a suitable platform for convergence. There is a growing effort to sow discord between Shiites and Sunnis and incite sedition among Muslims with the aim of destroying this capacity and creating faults in relations between the countries of the region.

 

  1. Security: The security component is an inseparable component. Security and trust is something that must first happen in the mind and cannot be achieved by relying solely on military means. Iran has always stated in its positions that it seeks lasting regional security and in this regard, it adjusts its defense policies towards the security of the entire region. From Iran's point of view, security is an inherent and indigenous process. The large arms trade is the result of a vicious cycle of divisiveness and security sales. The Hormuz Peace Endeavor is a forum for dialogue and a security coalition that has components such as non-interference, non-aggression, guaranteeing the sovereignty of countries, not changing the current geography, mutual respect, strengthening common interests, freedom of navigation, and ensuring collective security including energy security. Iran's perception and pattern of behavior of order and security in the region is based on collective and inclusive security and within the framework of the alliance of countries of the region, without any foreign interference.

 

  1. Economic Development and Environment: Creating the necessary plans and initiatives for the economic development of the West Asian region contributes to integration and coexistence. Measures such as creating a common economic market, activating joint ventures and forming an economic organization can play a significant role in preventing the region's problems and building trust among the countries of the region. All countries must have an approach based on fraternal responsibility towards the economic development of their neighbors.
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