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Iran friend of regional states, ready for security cooperation: Oil minister

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has called on regional states to view Iran as their friend, expressing Tehran’s preparedness to work with its neighbors to secure the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

According to Press TV, Zanganeh told reporters on Thursday night “We are prepared to join hands with other countries in the region and protect the security of Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz together.”

“This must be carried out by ourselves (littoral states of Persian Gulf),” he added.

He also urged regional states to consider Iran their friend “because Iran is a friend of everyone”.

“In my opinion, there is basically no enemy in this region. The enemy is outside the region,” he added.

The Iranian minister said even if there were conflicts in the past, “Iran was not the initiator or the one who created it.”

Zanganeh’s comments came a few days after President Hassan Rouhani says lasting security and peace in the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the strategic Strait of Hormuz could be established only through cooperation among regional states.

Speaking in a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a summit of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on Tuesday, Rouhani described establishment of regional peace and stability, in addition to freedom of movement and security of vessels in the Strait of Hormuz as among Tehran’s principled policies.

Last month at the meeting of the UN General Assembly, Rouhani introduced Iran’s initiative for promotion of peace and stability in the region, entitled the Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE).

“The Iranian initiative is meant to promote peace, stability, prosperity, mutual understanding as well as cordial ties among all people bordering the Strait of Hormuz,” Rouhani said in his meeting with Putin.

“This plan embraces various areas of cooperation, including collective energy security, freedom of navigation and free transport of crude oil, among countries on the Strait of Hormuz and trans-regional states,” Rouhani highlighted.

On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran will welcome Saudi Arabia’s change of policy “with open arms” if it comes to the realization that it cannot buy security though arms purchases and extra-regional help.