Our region in dire need of change: FM Zarif

TEHRAN, Apr. 24 (MNA) – Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addressed the Council on Foreign Relations on Monday in New York, stressing that the Middle East region is in dire need of change.

“Our region is in a dire need of change,” Zarif said in his opening speech at the Council on Foreign Relations on Monday, noting the situation in Yemen under airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition, where million people are dying from cholera.

"In the wars of 20th and 21st centuries, there are no winners; only the degree and amount of loss will be different. In the globalized era... you cannot have security at the expense of insecurity of others," he said, adding, "the era of hegemonic influence is long gone."

"We believe, in our region we suffer from dialogue deficit. We don't talk to each other. We talk a lot about each other, particularly when we come here. Our neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia, wants to create an impression that we are an existential threat against them. You just saw a very expensive two-week tour of the United States and that was one of the most important messages that wanted to be presented," he added.

Zarif went on to maintain that Saudi Arabia is trying to depict Iran as a regional threat, while adding that more dialogue is needed among regional states.

He called on regional countries to break away from the paradigm of exclusion, saying that the era of zero-sum games is long gone and that there are no winners in modern wars.

He also stressed that the era of hegemonic influence is over and that neither Iran, nor Saudi Arabia can be hegemonic powers in region; "We need to realize and appreciate this fact, however heartbreaking it may be, none of us can become this new hegemon," he added.

Zarif further highlighted the need for ‘mutual respect’ as the only way to establish any meaningful dialogue between Tehran and Washington.


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