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Iran's Zarif Urges Europe To Help Promote Dialogue In Gulf

EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend the opening of Oslo Forum, June 13, 2017

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on Monday for Europe to use its influence to defuse tensions in the Persian Gulf where Saudi Arabia and its allies have cut ties with Qatar.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has voiced support for Qatar in its confrontation with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain who accuse Qatar of supporting Islamist militants, an allegation Qatar denies.

Mainly Shi'ite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia have long been at loggerheads over political influence across the Middle East.

In a speech in the German capital, Zarif said the countries who blamed Iran or Qatar for terrorism were trying to avoid taking responsibility for their own failures in addressing the demands of their own people.

"One day it's Iran, today it's Qatar," he said. "It's an attempt to evade responsibility, escape accountability for this very fundamental ... failure of the state system to address, to respond to the demands of its populous."

Zarif argued for a new regional dialogue forum for the Gulf countries and called for an end to the armaments spiral in the region, which he said influenced some Western countries' relations with states in the region.

"When foreign policy becomes a commodity, then purchasing military equipment becomes your yardstick for measuring who is a terrorist or who isn't a terrorist," he said.

"This reinforces a cognitive disorder in our region that security can be purchased from outside, that security can be purchased by trying to buy more military equipment," he added. "What is needed in our region is a regional dialogue forum."

However, Saudi Arabia, Israel and other regional countries accuse Iran of fomenting instability in the region by supporting various armed groups and intervening in Yemen and Syria.

Iran has been the main supporter of Syrian strongman, Bashar al-Assad in the six year civil war in the country. It is estimated and tens of thousands of Iranian, Iraqi, Afghan and other Shiite fighters, organized by Iran have been fighting in Syria.

Based on Reuters