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Iran will defend itself against any military or economic aggression, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday, calling on European states to do more to preserve a nuclear agreement his country signed.
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Speaking at a Baghdad news conference with his Iraqi counterpart Mohammed al-Hakim, Zarif said Iran wanted to build balanced relations with its Gulf Arab neighbors and had proposed signing a non-aggression pact with them.
“We will defend against any war efforts against Iran, whether it be an economic war or a military one, and we will face these efforts with strength,” he said.
Strains have increased between Iran and the United States after this month’s attack on oil tankers in the Gulf region. Washington, a firm backer of Tehran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia, has blamed the attacks on Iran.
Tehran has distanced itself from the bombings, but the United States has sent an aircraft carrier and an extra 1,500 troops to the Gulf, sparking concern over the risk of conflict in a volatile region.
Iraq stands with Iran and is willing to act as an intermediary between its neighbor and the United States, Hakim said. Baghdad does not believe an “economic blockade” is fruitful, he added in a reference to U.S. sanctions.
“We are saying very clearly and honestly that we oppose the unilateral actions taken by the United States. We stand with the Islamic Republic of Iran in its position,” Hakim said.
The United States and Iran are Iraq’s two main allies.
Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi arrived in Oman and discussed “regional developments” with Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, the sultanate’s minister responsible for foreign affairs, Oman News Agency reported.
“Araqchi stressed the importance of peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and warned against the destructive policies of the United States and some of its regional allies,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on its website. “He rejected any direct or indirect talks with America.”
Bin Alawi last week said that his country is trying “with other parties” to calm Iran-U.S. tensions.
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