India can play a role in de-escalating tensions in the Gulf region as New Delhi is an important player, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Wednesday. His remarks come amid rising tensions between the US and Iran over the killing of Iranian general Maj Gen Qasem Soleimani.
India has been maintaining that it would like the situation to de-escalate as soon as possible and the country has been in touch with key players, including Iran, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Qatar, as it has important interests in the region.
“India can play a role in de-escalating tensions in the Gulf region as New Delhi is an important player,” Zarif told news agencyPTI. Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite al-Quds force, was killed after a US drone fired missiles on his convoy at Baghdad airport on January 3.
Last week, Iran launched over a dozen ballistic missiles targeting at least two bases where US military and coalition forces’ are stationed in Iraq. Soleimani’s killing was the most dramatic escalation yet in spiralling tensions between Iran and the US after President Donald Trump left the Iran Nuclear deal which was signed under Barack Obama’s administration in 2015.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Wednesday said his country was interested in diplomacy but not in negotiating with the US. Hitting out at the US, Zarif said Soleimani’s killing showed ignorance and arrogance. Addressing the gathering at the Raisina Dialogue, he said 430 Indian cities saw protests against Soleimani’s killing.
“Iran is interested in diplomacy. We are not interested in negotiating with the US. The US did not keep its commitments under the nuclear deal. We had a US deal and the US broke it. If we have a Trump deal, how long will it last?” Zarif said. “We need to create hope in the region. We have to get rid of despair,” he said.
Iran incurred hundreds of billions of dollars in damages because of current tensions, Zarif said. He said Soleimani was the single biggest threat to ISIS and his killing was now being celebrated by the terror group and US President Donald Trump.
Referring to the Ukrainian jetliner that crashed earlier this week killing all 176 aboard, Zarif said shooting down of the civilian plane was a mistake. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has acknowledged that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian aircraft. Zarif’s remarks come amidst the global focus being on Iran and the US over the confrontation between them following Soleimani’s killing.