Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif looks on during a meeting. (AP)

September 20, 2019

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif questioned on Friday the US-led plans for a “peaceful resolution” in the Middle East and presented Iran’s history of diplomatic initiatives.

Zarif tweeted “Coalition for Peaceful Resolution?” and listed eight diplomatic initiatives by Iran, ranging from the 2013 Syria Peace Plan to a regional non-aggression pact for the Arabian Gulf region proposed this year.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday the US was seeking to build a “coalition aimed at achieving peace and a peaceful resolution.” His comments came amid heightened tensions following Saturday’s drone attacks on Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Hijrat Khurais.

The US said on Thursday that all indications show that Iran is in some way responsible for the attacks.

Despite Zarif’s comments, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei ruled out talks with the US, unless it returns to the 2015 nuclear deal. “Iranian officials will never talk to America … this is part of their (US) policy to put pressure on Iran … their policy of maximum pressure will fail,” Khamenei was quoted as saying on Iranian state TV.

In another tweet, Zarif accused the United States of valuing oil more than people in the Middle East, before leaving for New York for the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations next week, state media said.

“Arab blood vs. Arab oil / A primer on US policy: 4 yrs of indiscriminate bombardment of Yemen, 100,000 dead Yemenis, 20M malnourished Yemenis, 2.3M cholera cases, carte (blanche) for culprits,” Zarif tweeted.

“Retaliatory Yemeni strike on oil storage tanks = unacceptable “act of war”,” he added, in reference to September 14 attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure which Pompeo called an “act of war” against the world’s largest oil exporter.

Iran denies involvement in the attacks, which Tehran says were carried out by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group which has claimed responsibility for them.

Zarif left for New York early on Friday, Iranian state television said, after Iran’s UN mission confirmed that the US has issued visas allowing President Hassan Rouhani and Zarif to attend the United Nations General Assembly.

On Thursday, Zarif warned that any US or Saudi Arabian military strike against his country would result in an “all out war.”

The US has been trying to create a global maritime security alliance since attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf.

The International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) is currently made up of the US, UK, Australia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Its operation covers the Strait of Hormuz, Bab al-Mandab, the Sea of Oman and the Arabian Gulf.

Saudi Arabia joined the alliance on Wednesday, followed by the UAE on Thursday. Iraq has said it will not join the IMSC.

Al Arabiya/Reuters

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.