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Iran says offered ‘non-aggression pact’ with Gulf

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif speaks during the Valdai Discussion Club titled ''Russia in the Middle East: Playing on All Fields'' in Moscow, Russia on 19 February, 2018 [Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency]
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif speaks during the Valdai Discussion Club titled ''Russia in the Middle East: Playing on All Fields'' in Moscow, Russia on 19 February, 2018 [Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency]

Iran has offered to sign a non-aggression pact with its Gulf neighbours, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Sunday, Anadolu Agency reports.

“We will defend against any war efforts against Iran, whether it be an economic war or a military one,” Zarif told a joint press conference in Baghdad with his Iraqi counterpart Mohamed Alhakim.

“We will face these efforts with strength,” he said.

“Tehran has offered to sign a non-aggression pact with its neighbours in the Gulf,” the Iranian minister said, going on to stress that Iran wants to “build balanced relations” with all Gulf states.

On Friday, CNN reported that US President Donald Trump approved sending some 1,500 US troops to the Middle East in a “mostly protective” effort on deterring “Iranian threats”.

The move came amid rising tension between the U.S. and Iran since Trump unilaterally withdrew Washington from a landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany).

READ: Iran expresses to expand cooperation with Iraq

The Trump administration has also re-imposed sanctions on Iran’s banking and energy sectors, while Iran has threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz to US oil shipments.

Zarif, who arrived in Iraq on Saturday for a three-day visit, said Iran does not seek any military escalation in the region.

“We are ready to accept any initiative aimed at reducing escalation and building constructing relations with all neighbouring countries,” he said.

He also called on the Europeans to activate a mechanism for trade with Iran and to do more efforts to maintain the 2015 nuclear deal.

“Iran has not violated the nuclear agreement, but talks are not enough to maintain the deal,” he said.

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