Iran’s Zarif questions US coalition for ‘peaceful resolution’ in Middle East

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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.

Iran denies involvement in the attacks, which Tehran says were carried out by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia, who have 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.

- With Reuters.

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