Saudi Arabia seeks division in Middle East: Iran FM

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has criticized some countries such as Saudi Arabia for pursuing policies aimed at sowing discord among regional states.

“If they change their methods, they can also be involved in [promoting] regional peace instead of warmongering [policies],” Zarif said following a trilateral meeting in the southern Turkish city of Antalya on Sunday.

Zarif also took to Twitter on Sunday, lambasting Saudi Arabia, among other things, for fueling terrorism across region and committing human rights violations in Yemen.

He noted that while Saudi Arabia accused Iran of taking steps to stabilize the region, it was fueling terrorists while waging war in Yemen and fomenting crisis in Lebanon.

Zarif and his Turkish and Russian counterparts Mevlut Cavusoglu and Sergei Lavrov, respectively, held preparatory talks ahead of Syria summit that is scheduled to be held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on November 22.

The top Iranian diplomat pointed to great achievements made during 11 months of peace negotiations on the Syrian crisis and said, “This issue shows that if other regional countries also…take up to cooperation instead of wrong policies, beneficial results may be achieved.”

Iran, Russia and Turkey are acting as the guarantors of a ceasefire in Syria that came during the intra-Syrian talks brokered by the three countries in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

So far, seven rounds of the Astana talks have brought representatives from Syria’s warring sides to the negotiating table in a bid to end the foreign-backed militancy in the Arab country, which broke out in March 2011.

“The Astana process shows that when influential countries in the region cooperate, these three countries can achieve what all other countries could not,” Zarif said.

The fourth round of the Astana discussions in May resulted in an agreement on four deescalation zones across Syria, which have sharply reduced fighting in the conflict zones.

The safe zones cover the Syrian provinces of Idlib and Homs as well as the Eastern Ghouta region near Damascus and the country’s southern border with Jordan.

Zarif also noted that during the Antalya meeting, the three foreign ministers exchanged views about the Sochi summit and reached agreements in this regard.